Menu icon

Lake Area Tech Granted $3.5M NIST Award

Posted on: October 24, 2022   |   Category: News

For immediate release.
October 24, 2022

WATERTOWN, SD – The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) granted a $3,561,000 cooperative agreement award last week to Lake Area Technical College (LATC) to operate South Dakota’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Center. The MEP Center, known as South Dakota Manufacturing and Technology Solutions (MTS), provides manufacturers with resources and services dedicated to helping them prosper and grow by reducing costs, increasing revenue, developing their workforce, and optimizing for automation. LATC will assume oversight of MTS on January 1, 2023.

“Lake Area Tech and MTS have a long-standing relationship focused on serving South Dakota manufacturers’ needs for skilled employees, particularly the synergism the organizations have in helping industry with new technologies like collaborative robots for automation and 3D metal printing,” LATC President Mike Cartney said. “There’s a tremendous amount of opportunity that lies ahead.”

A majority of South Dakota’s manufacturers have less than 100 employees and 52% have less than 10 employees. According to the South Dakota Department of Labor & Regulation, the state’s manufacturing industry is expected to grow by 8% by 2030. Many of Lake Area Tech’s programs, including Business, Computer Information Systems, Custom Paint & Fabrication, Electronic Systems Technology, Energy, Precision Machining, Robotics, and Welding Technology complement nearly every aspect of manufacturing.
“Manufacturing is one of our state’s largest industries,” MTS Center Director Don Cuperus said. “More than 43,000 South Dakotans are employed in manufacturing businesses across the state. MTS’ work helps create significant, lasting economic impact and job creation in South Dakota.”

MTS began in September 2010 with key support from the South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development. The state’s first cooperative agreement from NIST was awarded in 2013. MTS has offices in Sioux Falls, Aberdeen, Rapid City, and Watertown, and provides group training events, one-on-one business consulting, and an annual manufacturing summit.

Lake Area Tech is one of four recipients announced by NIST last week. Others include the University of Louisville Research Foundation, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and the University of Rhode Island Research Foundation. The total of the four cooperative agreement awards is nearly $19.8 million.