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Posted on: December 11, 2023   |   Category: News

December 11, 2023   

Watertown, SD          Lake Area Technical College (LATC) has received a $342,504 Advanced Technological Education (ATE) grant from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. government’s independent science agency.

The three-year grant will fund the college’s Cultivating Career Pathways for Advanced Manufacturing Technicians, which will ultimately increase the number of trained professionals in South Dakota’s advanced manufacturing workforce and increase the awareness of the industry among middle and high school students and teachers.

Lake Area Technical College President Tiffany Sanderson states, “South Dakota manufacturers supply high-tech products and components around the world, serving industries like energy, precision agriculture, and health care. The funding we received through the ATE grant gives Lake Area Tech the ability to build more awareness of manufacturing careers, train secondary teachers in today’s manufacturing practices, and help grow the regions advanced manufacturing workforce for greater economic development.”  

Principal Investigator and Lake Area Technical College Robotic and Electronic Systems Technology Department Supervisor Brooks Jacobsen, will lead the new initiative along with Steven Trautner, LATC Precision Machining Department Supervisor. Businesses, community leaders, state agencies, and educators will play key roles in the grant’s implementation. Partners include: South Dakota Manufacturing Technology Solutions, South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation, South Dakota Department of Education, Build Dakota Scholarship Fund, Watertown Development Company, Aberdeen School District, Brookings School District, Northeast Technical High School, Agropur, Applied Engineering, Daktronics, Macksteel, Marmen Energy, 1905 Automation, Pivotal Health Solutions, and Valley Queen Cheese.

Jim Engels, CEO of Pivotal Health Solutions said, “Pivotal Health Solutions is thrilled to encourage students to discover the diverse and rewarding career paths available in the manufacturing industry in our region. We look forward to the positive impact this project will have on the lives of students and the broader community, fostering a deep appreciation for the dynamic and flourishing manufacturing sector in South Dakota.” 

The ATE program focuses on the education of technicians who work in high-tech fields that

drive the nation’s economy. Because two-year community and technical colleges are the leading sources of technician education in the United States, faculty from these higher education institutions have had leadership roles in most ATE projects since the program began in 1993.

For more information see https://atecentral.net/r44380 or contact Brooks Jacobsen at brooks.jacobsen@lakeareatech.edu