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State Funnels $3M in Federal Stimulus/Coronavirus Funds into CTE Gear

In another example of South Dakota business depending on socialism, the state last week announced that it is funneling $3 million in federal stimulus and coronavirus relief into grants to support turning our kids into good little workers. Note how, as usual, the state buries credit to President Biden and the federal government:

Seventeen South Dakota school districts will receive over $3 million in Career and Technical Education (CTE) Innovative Equipment Grants to implement emerging technology and modern equipment in CTE programs.

“The equipment schools purchase with these grants will open students’ eyes to amazing career opportunities in their backyards,” said Secretary of Education Tiffany Sanderson. “They are taking their CTE programs to the cutting-edge, helping students master industry standards, learn from employers in their local communities, and develop skills for high-demand, high-wage fields in South Dakota.”

School District Amount Awarded Summary Industry and Postsecondary Partners
Aberdeen $189,049 The A-TEC Academy will expand their transportation program by offering Switch Vehicles designed to meet the emerging demands created by electric vehicles and careers focusing on their manufacture and maintenance. Aberdeen Area Chamber of Commerce, Lake Area Technical College, Steven Lust Automotive, Pierson Ford Lincoln, Inc.
Belle Fourche $250,000 Belle Fouche will tackle a significant workforce need by developing a training program to help students earn a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). Belle Fourche will purchase truck driving simulators and a semi tractor for their construction equipment program. Lake Area Technical College, Western Dakota Technical College, SD Department of Transportation, Habeck Trucking, Inc., 3J Towing, Butte County Highway Department
Bon Homme $193,500 Bon Homme will purchase industrial welding and CNC equipment to augment their current Ag, Food, and Natural Resources program. This equipment will significantly expand opportunities and develop necessary skills for the modern workplace. Tyndall Development, Inc., P&M Steel Company, Dave’s Welding and Repair, Rodale Institute, Hometown Floral and Gifts, A-OX Welding Supply, GT Repair and Autobody
Dell Rapids $129,932 As electric vehicle technology advances, the need for new skills grows. The mechanics of these vehicles are largely computer driven and require a high level of programming skill. Dell Rapids will add Switch Vehicles to their Information Technology (IT) program. Lake Area Technical College, Switch Vehicles
Groton Area $236,522 The new Health Science program at Groton Area received support from a committee of industry partners to select multiple pieces of equipment to add to their program. The highlight is the purchase of Syndaver Synthetic Cadavers and a nursing simulator. Avera, Sanford Health, a retired nurse educator, Sun Dial Manor
Harrisburg $250,000 Harrisburg proposed an innovative approach to careers addressing food insecurity. They will partner with a local landscape company to build a professional greenhouse aligned to urban farming and landscape operations. They will add a FarmBot and hydroponics to support a comprehensive project between Ag, Hospitality, and Business clusters. Weller Brothers Landscaping, Sanford Health, Southeast Technical College, Augustana University
Huron $250,000 Huron has a multi-dimensional plan to support high-need workforce areas in healthcare and automotive mechanics in their community. The Health Science program will increase innovation with an Anatomage system, and the Transportation program will add Consulab Engine Trainers. Mitchell Technical College, University of SD, Huron Regional Medical Center, Southeast Technical College, Iverson Auto, Lake Area Technical College
Meade $174,442 Sturgis Brown High School is developing a revolutionary hybrid program combining Robotics and Manufacturing. Through this program students will not only learn how to operate and use new technology like Switch Vehicles, CNC machines, and FarmBots, but they will also learn how to serve as technicians to repair, program, and maintain such equipment. SD School of Mines, SRAM Corporation
Miller $113,700 Miller is advancing the technology and equipment used in their Ag, Food, and Natural Resources program by adding cobot robotic welders to prepare students for the growing number of careers incorporating automation. Donlin Building, Inc., Vern’s Manufacturing, Inc.
Mitchell $232,868 Labor shortage, the need for efficiency, and competition has pushed the world of manufacturing toward robotic welders. The Mitchell Career and Technical Education Academy will train students for the new equipment used in manufacturing jobs by including cobot robotic welders. Hendrickson International, Marmen Energy, Twin City Fan Companies, Trail-Eze, Mitchell Technical College
Northeast Technical High School $249,496 In coordination with postsecondary partners, Northeast Technical High School is investing in a VRTEX virtual reality welding training simulator, Haas Desktop Mill machines, and CNC machining simulators for the Manufacturing program. Lake Area Technical College, Dynamic Engineering, Terex Corporation
Parker $121,569 Parker’s Ag, Food, and Natural Resources program will use augmented reality welding simulators to help students learn the fundamentals of welding and ag metal fabrication. This realistic new technology will allow students to safely build confidence as they develop skills. A-OX Welding Supply
Platte-Geddes $200,046 The addition of a Switch Vehicles program will allow Platte-Geddes students the opportunity to learn about electricity, renewable energy, and other advanced technologies in the field of electric vehicles. Trail-Eze, C&D Electric
Rapid City Area Schools $242,026 Rapid City Area Schools will purchase an Anatomage system for the Health Science program and heavy equipment simulators for the Architecture and Construction program. Rather than just introducing students to careers, this equipment will allow for industry certifications, real-world engagement, and rigor. Scull Construction, Butler Machinery, Monument Health
Sioux Falls $249,081 The Sioux Falls CTE Academy is adding three Reconfigurable Training Device (RTD) Frasca flight simulators. This simulator will not only expose students to the field of aviation, but it also has the potential to impact the future educational and financial investment of students by allowing them to start earning flight hours sooner. SD State University, Lake Area Technical College, SD National Guard, SD Air National Guard, Civil Air Patrol, Legacy Aviation, Iowa Lakes Community College
Tea Area $118,702 Tea Area will expand their STEM program by adding aviation simulators. Students will not only be able to explore the aviation pathway with hands-on experience, but also learn the importance of science, technology, engineering, and math within the field of aviation. SD State University, SD National Guard
Webster Area $181,454 Through their Hospitality program, Webster Area will build an industrial food service lab equipped with commercial food service equipment to prepare students for careers in nutrition, dietetics, and culinary arts. Sanford Health, Perebooms Café, Sun Dial Manor, The New Frontier Steakhouse, Strand-Kjorsvig Living Center, Webster Area Development Corporation, Mitchell Technical College, Waubay School District, Lake Area Technical College

These grants are funded with federal dollars available to the Department of Education through the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER) [SD Department of Education, press release, 2022.12.01].

(The Department of Education is handing out GEER/ARP money. Should we be alarmed that that sounds like GEAR UP?)

The American Rescue Plan is that big stimulus package President Biden delivered in his first couple months on the job. Republicans have been bashing that federal support as the cause of inflation, but here South Dakota Republicans go, happily spending all that inflationary/stimulatory money to subsidize business interests by turning schools into job-training centers.

The Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund isn’t really the Governor’s money. That cash, too, came from Uncle Sam in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, which, like the American Rescue Plan, buoyed the economy through the pandemic storm that South Dakota and other states alone could not have weathered.

Let South Dakota say what it will about Freedom and Keeping Businesses Open; these CTE grants are just one more example of how big-government socialism keeps South Dakota’s economy alive.


  1. Loren 2022-12-06 09:41

    Too bad there isn’t a provision that, if you don’t support an issue and vote against it, you don’t get to share in the benefits. It would allow folks like our delegation to forfeit any federal funds and then be able to brag about “fiscal conservatism.” ;-)

  2. P. Aitch 2022-12-06 09:54

    All those high school programs sound, well, stimulating in a positive way. Besides, when a generation of SD kids are miseducated using Hillsdale standards they’ll need something to do for a living. So many career paths will have been blocked by not having deserving students’ worldly awareness stimulated.

  3. All Mammal 2022-12-06 10:44

    I wonder how many of the private companies who are now getting free training for their young workforce publicly rock their ‘lets go brandon’ garb at trump rallies. They should be very grateful to ‘brandon’. The Young Turks have several clips I love of ‘dark brandon’.

  4. All Mammal 2022-12-06 15:16

    We need technically adept high schoolers to run the 988 hotline for our state. The suicide problem is such a serious one in SD, nobody complained when our telephone system switched several months ago to having to dial (1-605) for all local calls. Seems that was all for naught because of the incompetence of our proud elected officeholders. Upon dialing 988 for at least a week or two, (but who knows how long it has been going on) the unstable dialer only hears a recording that the hotline has technical difficulties and a dial tone. The crisis hotline hangs up on suicidal citizens! Just another front put on by Noem, at the expense of our people reaching out for help. She must have put this program in the same place she stored the special session on women’s medical legalities and the food tax repeal promise. Oh, and the expectant mother hotline and the state visitor portal and the overtime pay for penitentiary workers and rural high speed internet and……

  5. P. Aitch 2022-12-08 17:32

    Governor Noem et al MAGA’s:
    ~ Teaching students that WWII veterans were given GI Bill benefits to help them assimilate back to society is history.
    ~ Teaching students that black veterans were deliberately excluded is teaching history through the lens of Critical Race Theory.

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