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Build Dakota Scholarship: One-third of Wall graduates accept scholarships for technical colleges

Imagine owning a small business and you are searching for qualified technical school graduates to fill positions within your new company. Next, imagine finding a graduate that has all the finely tuned requirements allowing them to seamlessly transition into your company. Now, imagine hiring an employee with no student loan debt.
Imagine being a high school student trying to figure out what to do with their life after graduation. Next, imagine being a high school graduate who worked to obtain a higher education at an in-state technical college. Now, imagine being a highly valued, technical school graduate with no student loan debt. 
Beginning in 2015, the Build Dakota Scholarship fund was developed from a donation made by philanthropist T. Denny Sanford. The fund sought to pair exceptional high school students with sponsors who financially support their academic endeavors at one of four technical colleges in South Dakota—Lake Area Technical College, Watertown; Mitchell Technical; Southeast Technical College, Sioux Falls; Western Dakota Technical College, Rapid City. The fund seeks to recruit students who seek technical degrees in high-need areas of employment, such as healthcare or information technology. In return, the student works at a job in their degree field for at least three years in South Dakota.
On May 14, seven Wall School District graduates accepted fully funded scholarships to attend one of four South Dakota Technical Colleges. These seven students account for one third of the class of 2024. Upon graduation from technical college, these students look at 90 to 100 percent employability in their degree field. They will possess the opportunity to become more selective in the job market after completing three years of employment in South Dakota, if they chose to move to another state.
At the awards ceremony, Deni Martin, program manager for the Build Dakota Scholarship fund, had the honor of presenting awards to the seven students, starting with her son Ben.
Benjamin Amundson plans to attend Southeast Technical College. He partnered with Avera McKennan with plans to obtain his degree in licensed practical nursing.  
Sean Dunker plans to attend Mitchel Technical College. He partnered with 3B’s Heating and Air Conditioning with plans to obtain his degree in heating and cooling technology.
Sisters Jada and Kadence Kusser plan to attend Southeast Technical College. They partnered with Avera Sacred Heart with plans to obtain their degrees in licensed practical nursing.
Kaylen Spotted Bear plans to attend Mitchell Technical College. He partnered with Golden West Telecommunication LLC with plans to obtain his degree in wi-fi and broadband technologies.
Alexis Stephan plans to attend Southeast Technical College. She partnered with Philip Health Services and plans to obtain her degree in licensed practical nursing.
Brodi Sundall plans to attend Mitchell Technical College. He partnered with Brant’s Electric and plans to obtain his degree in electrical construction and maintenance.
The fully funded scholarship opportunities for these students include tuition, books and materials required for their coursework up to four years, depending upon their degree field in a high-need field. Qualifying programs include agriculture, automotive, building trades/construction, dental assisting, energy technicians, engineering technicians, healthcare/public service, IT/computer information systems, precision manufacturing and welding.

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