Governor Dennis Daugaard says the state needs to do more to keep qualified workers in South Dakota. The state is short on trained workers in key areas, like welders, electricians, plumbers and even teachers.
Many workers in these fields migrate to surrounding states where wages are higher.
Governor Daugaard says South Dakota has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation. But, he says the worker shortage makes it difficult for businesses to expand.
Daugaard is proposing a scholarship program to pay the tuition for anyone who will go to work in a needed field and stay in South Dakota for three years after graduation.
“The establishment of this scholarship will mean that each year hundreds of our young people, and young people from other states, will have the opportunity to enter high demand fields without incurring debt. And, that more of them will choose to stay in South Dakota after graduation. The impact of this will be huge not only for South Dakota but also for employers and our state,” says Daugaard.
Daugaard says to start 300 scholarships are being made available each year for the next five years. He says the program is thanks to a $25-million donation by philanthropist T. Denny Sanford plus some matching funds from the state.