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2014 November 10 - 09:43 am

Dual Enrollment Boosts Career Ed in S. Dakota

Career and Technical Programs Seen as Key to Boosting Economy

VERMILLION, S.D. (AP) — Dual enrollment opportunities are at the core of Career and Technical Education (CTE) in South Dakota.

That was why Gov. Dennis Daugaard visited Vermillion High School, taking time to discuss the current CTE offerings at the school and also take a look at the new Builders Choice incubator that is set to be running within a month.

Career and technical specialize in the skilled trades, applied sciences, modern technologies and career preparation. Programs offer both academic and career-oriented courses, and many provide students with the opportunity to gain work experience through internships, job shadowing, onthe-job training and industrycertification opportunities.

“I am very excited by the dual-credit interest shown by the juniors and seniors all across the state,” Daugaard said after meeting with members of the Vermillion School District office and the high school. “The numbers are higher than we hoped it would be and that’s a very good thing. That means they will get some credit toward a postsecondary degree within institutions here in South Dakota. Their chance of

attending an institution in South Dakota and succeeding goes up if they have credit under their belt already when they begin.”

The governor said that the key to a dual-credit program’s success is making sure the students stay dialed in.

“Getting the information out there and having them succeed at the first one try,” Daugaard said. “It’s suddenly different being spoon-fed by a teacher in the classroom who is always watching you and overseeing your work to see if you are keeping up. You are online and dependent on your own selfdiscipline and pacing to keep up and do well. It’s easy to get behind and fail.”

Vermillion School District Superintendent Mark Froke said that the Builders’ Choice program is not yet a dual or concurrent credit course, but it the idea is in the works.

Still, they are putting more Vermillion students in better positions for their futures. Builders Choice is a modular construction and manufacturer of engineered building components, and it has a plant in Vermillion.

Coursework for “Residential Construction” will be of primary focus within the new building.

“I’d have to put our as one of the top ventures,” Froke said. “A business such as Builders Choice is invested in their materials and their equipment in this project. That’s one thing I am proud of is that we’re creating this partnership with the goal in mind to train students to go out and work right out of high school if they want or move on to postsecondary. That’s the great value and the value to the business, Builders Choice, is a support for a work force they are struggling to find currently.’’ The building, located just south behind the high school, should be operational soon.

“We will be talking about moving equipment and materials in pretty rapidly before the snow flies,” Froke said.

Froke said the initial hype will create a buzz, but ultimately to keep the project going and sustainable, a number of people will have to combine efforts to make it longstanding.

“It has to be a team effort and work from everyone,” Froke said. “The guidance counselors, the instructors, the principal’s office, myself, the school board, everyone has to be on board supporting the program. We plan on keeping it on the schedule for a two-hour block from here on out. So that the fact the building is here and we will have it on the schedule will go a long ways to sustain this project on a long-term basis.”

Dougaard said that he hopes to keep motivating the state and its schools to keep projects like these and dual-credit programs on the forefront of newer educational movements.

“I will continue to work with schools to encourage students,” Dougaard said. “It just depends on the leadership within the schools.”

Froke was honest with his assessment of the governor’s work.

“With you being out there promoting it that makes a huge difference in bringing all players together,” Froke said. “The more you can talk about it, the more it helps us here.”

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