This is the third in a series spotlighting South Dakota’s manufacturing industry during the 2nd annual SD Manufacturing Week.
It’s no secret that South Dakota’s manufacturing sector continues to grow. In fact, from 2012 to 2013, South Dakota manufacturers alone added 343 jobs to our economy. That number is expected to grow even more this year.
The Madison Central School District hopes that its new CTE (Career & Technical Education) program, a program funded partially through a Future Fund grant from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED), can prepare and educate its students to fill the growing demand. And it all started a year ago—at the conclusion of SD Manufacturing Week 2013.
“When we took our kids out to tour the local manufacturing companies during last year’s Manufacturing Week, they were completely mesmerized by what was happening and being produced right here in our hometown,” said Adam Shaw, Madison High School’s principal. “That really got us thinking we should implement some kind of program promoting our manufacturing industry.”
And so, planning for a CTE program began.
Dustin Williams, plant manager for Manitou-Gehl in Madison, was a key player early on in the planning stages of the future CTE program.
“When Dustin said, ‘I need welders, like 40 right now,’ we knew welding needed to be a focus of this CTE program,” Shaw said. “And thanks to his openness to training, education and forward thinking, he’s letting us use Gehl’s welding lab to train our welding students.”
Through Madison’s newly established CTE program, students are able to earn dual credits for graduation, as well as earn credits to begin completion of a welding program offered through Lake Area Technical Institute.
“Not only are we teaching these kids a valuable trade skill, one that is in high demand right now, but we are hoping they go to a vocational school to complete the welding program they’ve already started. So often we lose valuable, highly-skilled students to other states. Our hope is that we can keep them here and hopefully see them return home to a job right here in Madison,” Shaw added.
There’s room to grow too. Madison’s CTE program is offering other CTE courses in specialty areas like culinary arts, automotive and biomedical sciences.
“It’s more than sitting and learning in a classroom. The kids will get hands-on training that will eventually open many more doors for them,” Shaw said.