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Lake Area Tech Receives National Community College Award

Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute names Lake Area Technical Institute the top community college in the nation. The award includes a $600,000 prize.

“And the winner is . . . La La Land. I’m sorry. The winner is Lake Area Technical Institute of Watertown South Dakota,” says Miller.

That was former US Representative George Miller, awarding Lake Area Tech with the 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. Aspen searches for solutions to educational problems across the country.

Ten finalists were recognized out of over 1,000 colleges at a Tuesday ceremony in Washington DC. Lake Area has been a finalist since the award was created in 2011.

Mike Cartney is the President of Lake Area Tech. He says this competition has made the college better.

“We knew that college is a pathway not a destination. And we knew that over 50% of our students for them it’s the road out of poverty. But Aspen is the project that put the light on the fact that we weren’t serving them as well as our other students. But everybody has data and tools to tell you who’s at risk, and who needs extra attention, it’s what you do with that data and how you respond to that data that determines what your success will be,” says Cartney.

Cartney says Lake Area’s success is because of the college’s faculty and students. Northeast Community College in Nebraska and Anoka-Ramsey Community College in Minnesota were also finalists.