40 High School graduates have received scholarships to pursue high demand occupations in South Dakota. The Dakota Corps Scholarship program is covering the cost of tuition and fees for students studying to become teachers, accountants, registered nurses, and IT specialists, among other jobs. South Dakota officials are hoping the scholarship will keep the best students in the state.
Teacher education remains at the top of the list for high demand jobs. Paul Turman is the Board of Regents Vice President of Academic Affairs. He says this year the scholarship awarded money to students becoming special education, math, science, and technical education teachers.
“Teacher education has always been an area of critical need. There have been some changes at least to the specific area of teacher education that have been identified. For example at one point we had music education and foreign language, but the most recent data from the department of education indicates at least the four we have now are the most critical,” says Turman.
In recent years scholarships areas include IT, engineering, and accounting. To receive the scholarship, applicants must agree to work in the state for a number of years within their degree area. Turman says he believes the program will keep the best students in South Dakota.
“You know a student who gets a 34 on an ACT is also getting some very lucrative offers from institutions from outside the state, and so if this program is successful at helping us retain some of those students, then it’s certainly worth the investment and the time it takes to follow up and keep track of these students going forward,” says Turman.
168 students applied for the scholarship.