The Path to Success
I’ve believed for a long time that technical and skilled labor education are the backbone of a strong national workforce. It’s one thing to hear about successful programs at the state and local level, but it’s a totally different experience to witness them firsthand and see the impact programs have on local communities.
During the March state work week, I spent several hours touring various programs at the Lake Area Technical Institute (LATI) in Watertown. With more than thirty programs, ranging from energy technology to nursing, LATI is ranked the number one two-year college in the nation. There aren’t many programs in the entire country that can compete with the technology and innovation seeping from LATI’s educational veins. It’s truly impressive, and if you, your kid, or your neighbor are even thinking about a trade education, it’s an institution you’ll want to take a second look at.
Many of the students enrolled at LATI work part-time and go on to earn forty percent more than other new hires in the area. While in Watertown, I also sat down with Prairie Lakes Healthcare System. The majority of their RN’s and medical staff flock from LATI. That’s a direct investment back into the community and it’s certainly inspiring to see firsthand.
I’ve found it extremely beneficial to visit the state’s various educational programs to see what’s working well and what we could do better. South Dakota’s exceptional programs are examples I can bring back to D.C. and only amplifies my work on the Education and Labor Committee. These tours, engaging with the faculty, and visiting with the students who have benefited from programs offered at schools like LATI allow me to learn lessons I would never learn from a pamphlet.
As a country, we need to ensure that curriculum opportunities are a good fit for what the industry needs. We should be doing a better job recruiting students to programs in high demand and then make sure they have the tools to succeed post-grad. Lake Area has done that.
What is being done in Watertown needs to be done across the country. This is our nation’s path to success.