2 Nov 2017
After 40 years of work in the food service industry around Huron, Todd Peterson is changing what’s on his menu.
“One day I woke up and said, ‘you know what, I just don’t want to do this food service thing anymore.’”
In a year, he’ll graduate from Mitchell Technical Institute as a Licensed Practical Nurse. The Build Dakota Scholarship program is paying for Peterson’s education. It pays for his school costs if he agrees to work in the state in his field for three years.
“It’s absolutely amazing and it’s a great thing for the state of South Dakota that they’re doing this for these skilled positions.”
Peterson’s doing what’s best for him because health care is one of the high demand career tracks in South Dakota. Others include technology, accounting, and engineering. Marcia Hultman is Cabinet Secretary of the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation. She says many communities struggle with the same problem.
“The businesses, fairly consistently, if it’s in a small town or a large town, are saying that we need a skilled workforce. So, you’ll hear us going back to that phrase a lot in our conversations.”
Other states are facing similar problems. As Chair of the Western Governors Association, Governor Dennis Daugaard has made improving a skilled workforce a priority. During an association meeting in August, Daugaard said a shift in the post-recession economy is creating changes to the demand for skilled labor.