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South Dakota Offering 21 or 22 Job Certificate Programs to Help Recession-Hit Workers

On Monday, Governor Kristi Noem announced a new job training program to help workers displaced by the coronavirus recession. SD Upskill will offer 22 18-credit certificate programs in “high-demand” fields:

SDUpskill 22 certificates available
SDUpskill: 22 certificates available!
  1. Agriculture
  2. Dietary Management
  3. Business Leadership
  4. Office Management (I don’t want a certificate, but I do want a copy of Somehow I Manage or a Michael Scott t-shirt)
  5. Banking
  6. EMT/Pre-parademic
  7. Medical Billing
  8. Medical Coding
  9. Medical Information
  10. Phlebotomy
  11. Manufacturing
  12. Entrepreneurship
  13. Human Resources
  14. Marketing (wait—really? this is a high-demand field? don’t we already have enough people running around making up slogans to alchemize wants into needs?)
  15. Plumbing
  16. Network and Cybersecurity
  17. Programming
  18. Computer Support
  19. Java Programming
  20. Network Support
  21. Web Programming

Hmm… website says “22 certificates available”… but I clicked each of the career clusters, wrote down each certificate listed, and only came up with 21. Maybe #22 is a hidden certificate in arithmetic.

The vo-techs and the Department of Labor are using federal coronavirus relief funds and some Clinton/Obama-era legislation to offer these certificate programs “at little or no cost” to anyone eligible for unemployment insurance and whom the Department deems “a dislocated worker.”

And somehow, the state is able to offer these vital educational opportunities entirely online.


  1. jerry 2020-07-30 09:08

    I’m glad that there is an online form to further your education and to get a full fledged degree by doing so. As you so clearly note “And somehow, the state is able to offer these vital educational opportunities entirely online.”

    Yes, the state is able to provide this kind of paid service but cannot seem to muster the plan to do the same for classroom students and would rather send our children to a virus factory to catch and bring home the virus to caregivers…how medieval, we have now regressed to the middle ages…”bring out your dead”

  2. jerry 2020-07-30 09:13

    33 percent drop in the economy, let’s keep treating Covid the same way with no mandates on mask wearing or social gatherings. Yep, let’s just watch us burn down our own house… Freedom don’tcha know.

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy shrank at a dizzying 32.9% annual rate in the April-June quarter — by far the worst quarterly plunge ever — when the viral outbreak shut down businesses, throwing tens of millions out of work and sending unemployment surging to 14.7%, the government said Thursday.

    The Commerce Department’s estimate of the second-quarter decline in the gross domestic product, the total output of goods and services, marked the sharpest such drop on records dating to 1947. The previous worst quarterly contraction, a 10% drop, occurred in 1958 during the Eisenhower administration.”

    Hey, 1954, wasn’t that what the nostalgia guys speak of? Republican governance then and now, what a coinky dink.

  3. Dana P 2020-07-30 09:51

    #10 – Phlebotomy

    Thought I would share this story. I’m a regular blood donor. On my last donation (about a month ago) as I was donating, the nice man who was doing my donation told me it was his last day on the job. I asked him what he was going to be doing and where he was going. He told me he had gotten a job as an insurance adjuster.

    “Are you going to miss being a phlebotomist?”, I asked. He told me he was! He really was passionate about what he was doing and helping to save lives and everything about blood donation that was so important to him.

    But then he told me the kicker. He said he can make in one week more money in his ‘new job’ than he can in almost one month of work doing the vampire work. He told me he was having a hard time paying his bills with the salary he was making at the blood bank.

    So a person, sticking a needle in my arm/monitoring me, contributing to building our blood bank supply and keep it safe…….can’t make a living wage in this state.

    Tried not to go off-topic on your post, Cory. But like what routinely happens in South Dakota, how many of these ‘certificate programs’ will be able to make a living wage in this state. Or, will some of the folks, take this opportunity, get a certificate and leave the state for greener pastures?

  4. Jenny 2020-07-30 09:58

    The Upskill website doesn’t say how much the student will have to pay just ‘at little or no cost’. A lot of these ‘certificates’ would have to be two year degrees to begin to even start paying a living wage. SD programs that are meant to help people usually have good intentions but fall short. I wil believe the claim ‘at little or no cost’ until I hear a SD student say they took advantage of this program AND started at a living wage. Living Wage isn’t in the GOP vocabulary.

  5. Jenny 2020-07-30 10:04

    Certified Nursing Assistants in Minnesota’s larger well-known hospitals start at 16/hr AND will pay tuition to further your education in the healthcare field. Come on over South Dakotans! MN would love to have you working in the healthfield and they will pay you what you’re worth.

  6. jerry 2020-07-30 10:18

    Jenny, great, but should be double the salary for the jobs we ask them to do.

  7. Jenny 2020-07-30 10:46

    MN is at the top of the Nation for pay in the healthcare field, jerry. Physician Assistants and Certified Nurse Practitioners start in six digit figures. In SD, I don’t think the starting pay is anywhere near that. The point I was trying to make is why waste time and money getting a ‘certificate’ which we all know is a joke for most the jobs listed when one can get a job at a pay rate that doesn’t cost money to get? Home Depot is starting at 14/hr in MN now – no certificate needed. I know of Union jobs here that start at 20 bucks also – no certificate needed, full benefits and annual pay increases.

  8. leslie 2020-07-30 11:05

    No Trust Industry Tax Haven Certificate?

  9. Jenny 2020-07-30 11:21

    Oh leslie, that made my day! High five, fist bump! :)

    Or how about registering your RV as an out of state resident certificate

  10. Buckobear 2020-07-30 11:58

    I’m amazed they didn’t mention the on-line truck driving certificate.

  11. leslie 2020-07-30 11:58

    Booth at the rally!

  12. jerry 2020-07-30 12:12

    Truck drivers beware, make sure who you’re dealing with. A small independent could be belly up with one bad choice.

    “Several trucking companies and freight brokerages are owed thousands of dollars after a Kentucky-based lumber processor filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday.

    Northland Corp., headquartered in La Grange, Kentucky, filed its petition in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Kentucky.

    In its filing, Northland lists both its assets and liabilities as between $1 million and $10 million and states it has up to 199 creditors.

  13. Cathy B 2020-07-30 12:30

    It sure would be nice if the Governor would offer them healthcare while they are getting this education. Wouldn’t a pandemic be a good time for South Dakota to accept Medicaid expansion? Ya think? We’ve now missed out on a total $2 Billion federal funds for healthcare in this state since 2014.

  14. Moses6 2020-07-30 13:24

    Cathy B she does not have a clue like anything else she does.

  15. Jake 2020-07-30 14:41

    If only sD would have elected someone who wanted to a real governor instead of a wanna-be Trump! By now we would have Medic-Aid expansion and further aid to schools and leadership for the Covid problem instead of blather about how the data is mixed. I suggest she stop listening to the same doctors (?) Trump does that invoke aliens and devils into the mix of their advice. She sounds like someone Ale Jones is playing into her sub-conscious as she sleeps!

  16. leslie 2020-07-30 16:38

    Why don’t Republicans give a f*ck about anything?

    A “wide variety of structural factors—including polarization, gerrymandering and partisan geography, low turnout, the design of the Senate, and so on—, on balance, advantage Republican politicians today. They’ve tried to augment that advantage with voter suppression, but that’s just the icing on an already good cake. Even without those efforts, Republican politicians are answerable primarily to conservative voters in the least populous portions of the country and the conservative outlets and institutions that shape their thinking. This has allowed most to stand proudly opposite public opinion on everything from health care to climate change without fear of electoral consequence.” ***

    “Republicans are quietly hoping for a loss at the top of the ticket. A Trump defeat might repair the GOP’s standing with key constituencies Trump has driven away and will almost certainly encourage the political media to craft a redemption narrative for the party.

    Pundits and Fox News favorites on the Hill will attract attention and campaign donors drumming up rage at what Biden and Democrats in Congress are up to. Ambitious post-Trump populists and Trump critics who’ve been biding their time are both spoiling for a fight over the future of the party, which is to say a fight over the future of their respective careers.

    None of this should console Trump and the most embattled Republican candidates.

    But unless Democrats get serious about disempowering it for good, the Republican Party can’t really lose.

    Osita Nwanevu @OsitaNwanevu
    Osita Nwanevu is a staff writer at The New Republic.

    Kristi John Mike and Dusty don’t give a fu*k.

  17. grudznick 2020-07-30 18:04

    Ms. leslie, grudznick gives a fu*k and a half. I can’t remember what they call that, but it has a name. Anyway, your second graph about “a Trump defeat” would go a long ways to help repair the disgruntlement that the Conservatives with Common Sense* have about those who are insaner than most.

    * full disclosure: grudznick is only the past-president so I can’t speak fully for the entire organization

  18. Debbo 2020-07-30 22:24

    The good part is that the certificates shouldn’t cost anything. The question is, are they worth anything?

    What value is there in an online certification as a plumber? Agriculture? Banking? Can a successful student take the certificate into a bank and be hired for something other than custodial work? What would one do with an ag certificate?

    The computer certs might have a little more heft, but those and the meds are probably the only ones really worth one’s time. As Jenny said, take them to Minnesota where you’ll be paid decently and have good benefits.

  19. leslie 2020-07-30 23:50


    Ignore them and then make them pay for the waste and damage. Prosecute, convict and imprison them to hold them accountable. Take our time.

    Then prioritize repairing the politicized SCOTUS, packed courts and prosecutors, justice system, militarized police, install accountable administrative leadership, VRA, health care and all other laws and norms Republicans violate with impunity.

    Proceed with immediate aggressive progressive, liberal social, health, job, environment, taxation of wealth, regulations, infrastructure, science/technology R&D, and most importantly, deeply substantive income equality and global warming/energy action.

    Install RBG’s old bile stent into McConnell’s heart (if he has one-otherwise an amphibian or reptile heart if a consenting donor is available). Inject Trump with Lysol while in custody if not determined cruel/unusual by a decade of appeals. What does he have to loose?

  20. Tracey Dannelley 2020-08-05 01:05

    UpSkill program says you have to be approved for unemployment to be eligible. I have been waiting over 7 weeks and have not heard if I am approved or denied. What if it’s past the deadline for school, and I havent received an answer? The program suggest that financial aid will help cover the cost of books, computers, ETC. However, financial aid is not available for those enrolled in a certificate. As a single mother, my income is needed to support my household. Since March, I opened my home to my daughters friend who was being abused. It’s been hard enough providing for an additional child, never mind draining my savings account to survive. This program would be impossible for my situation if I had to come up with thousands of dollars to pay for books, computers. I love and appreciate the idea. Seems like, this will not work because after 7 weeks, I am still not approved or denied for unemployment.

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