Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Millions granted to South Dakota schools to modernize trade classrooms

John Bounds sits behind the wheel of a driving simulator.
Frank Morris
Simulators such as the one pictured above will be among the purchases made with grant dollars

More than $3 million will be spread across 17 South Dakota school districts to provide infrastructure for teaching students trades.

The Career and Technical Education Innovative Equipment Grants are a chance to modernize trade classrooms.

From Aberdeen to Belle Fourche, the CTE grant dollars will reach every corner of the state.

In Rapid City, interim superintendent Nicole Swigart said this money will open doors for all students.

“If we have a very robust CTE program that has things like the simulators that can get them certified in being able to operate machinery, then that makes them employable with that certification and allow the students to exit our schools with something to hang their hat on," Swigart said. "Something to contribute to their livelihood moving forward.”

In the Platte-Geddes School District grant dollars will go towards an electric vehicle workstation.

Superintendent Joel Bailey said it will give students a chance to work across disciplines.

“We’re viewing this as a collaborative effort between our shop students, our engineering students, and our physics students," Bailey said. "They will learn about electricity and also some metal fabrication in a sense.”

Northeast Technical High School, based in Watertown with multiple locations, will use their grant dollars to invest in a virtual welding simulator, among other things. Director Bert Falak shared data about demand for technical education.

“The demand percentage for us as a whole was 157%. Numbers for Watertown break down like this – when they registered for this school year, there was over 1,000 Watertown 8th through 11th graders who made over 2,500 course requests for 1,100 course seats.”

The grants are funded by federal dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act and the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund.

A full list of schools and details on the grants they received is available here.

C.J. Keene is a Rapid City-based journalist covering the legal system, education, and culture