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Hundreds recieve full-ride scholarships to South Dakota trade schools

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The Build Dakota fund has given more than 450 students full-ride scholarships to the state's trade schools. More than eighty percent of this year’s scholarship recipients have an industry partner. That means when they graduate, they’re guaranteed a job.

Deni Amundson, program director for Build Dakota, said the program provides benefits on many levels.

“We see the individual lives and who its impacting and the opportunity to potentially graduate debt-free and get started on a great career, and an in-demand career in South Dakota,” Amundson said.

Build Dakota identified specific areas as high-need fields. They include agriculture, automotive, construction trades, energy and engineering tech, healthcare, IT, precision manufacturing, and welding.

Amundson said Build Dakota wants to close that high-need gap.

“What Build Dakota is - is a catalyst for everybody to come together on the same mission and hopefully we’re getting more people interested in these high need fields by offering these full-ride scholarships," Amundson said. "I hope that we’re making an impact for South Dakota on a much larger scale.”

Amundson said students interested in a trade should explore the areas looking for workers.

“These are the in-demand jobs here in South Dakota, and for us in-demand also means higher-paying," Amundson said. "We know our graduates will be able to secure a job once they finish the program. That just creates tremendous opportunity right now for South Dakota’s workforce.”

Industry partners contributed more than $3 million to help support this year’s program.

Applications for the 23-24 school year open January first. There’s more information online at BuildDakotaScholarships.com

C.J. Keene is a Rapid City-based journalist covering education, healthcare, arts and culture.