WDT enrollment increases 8.4 percent

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Enrollment for summer semester is up 8.4 percent this year at Western Dakota Tech.

“We believe students have the potential to succeed, and are committed to helping them realize and embrace that potential.” President Ann Bolman said. “This enrollment increase shows that we are correct in that belief.”

Western Dakota Tech added two new programs last fall, Criminal Justice and Dental Assisting. Those additions and additions of night classes in Transportation Technician and Welding and Fabrication have contributed to enrollment increases.

“We don’t just want to enroll students,” Bolman said. “We want to ensure all the academic and personal support they need.” Bolman said. “We recently added multiple positions in our Student Success Center and we’re always striving to provide more flexible class options for students. These are just a couple ways we work to support our students.”

Western Dakota Tech boasts a placement rate of 86 percent. Those students are working, continuing their education, or serving in the military, six months after graduation.

“Ultimately, our goal is to prepare students to enter their careers as smart, skilled individuals who bring a positive outlook to their work,” Bolman said. “We are so impressed by them every day.”

Precision machining student makes waves

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Western Dakota Tech student, Jeremiah Spencer, is well on his way after receiving his Precision Machining diploma one week before receiving his high school diploma in May.

Spencer’s accomplishment is a result of the Dual Enrollment program, which allows students to earn high-school and college credit at the same time. Students in good academic standing are able to take dual classes in their junior and senior years.

“I took Dual Enrollment classes after my junior year during the summer so I could finish during my senior year,” Spencer said.

Spencer focused on precision machining classes because he has a passion for machining, but high school students can use the Dual Enrollment program to take any class offered at Western Dakota Tech.

“I actually wanted to be something like a machinist when I was younger and this gave me a really great opportunity to become a machinist. For other students who want transferable credits, it’s really great for that. I just think it’s a cool thing.

Spencer is now ready to enter the workforce in hopes of beginning a promising career. Machinists are expected to enjoy growth of 13.8 percent through 2020 and make an average hourly wage of $17.55 in the Rapid City area. Spencer says he’s ready to get started.

“Find work! And get enough experience and enough money to start my own shop some day,” Spencer said.

Spencer’s story was featured on the Black Hills Fox News segment, Along the Way. To view the story, click here.

To learn more about Dual Enrollment, click here.

To learn more about Precision Machining, click here.

Surgical tech students travel to the golden state

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A group from Western Dakota Tech attended the Association of Surgical Technologists (AST) 47th National Conference in San Diego at the beginning of June.

Instructor Tiffany Howe attended the conference with 13 first-year students in the Surgical Tech program. The group had the opportunity to network with more than 1,400 surgical technicians and 200 students.

Students were introduced to the AST Student Officers and listened to presentations with topics such as various career options, job search techniques, certification exam Q&A, and professionalism in the workplace.

Instructors at the conference had the opportunity to update knowledge and skills through presentations on the latest technology and updates to safety in the operating room, comparing various methods of surgical treatment, learning about legislative efforts in relation to credentialing, and learning from renowned surgeons.

One student in attendance ran for a national student liaison position and placed fifth, the top four places were selected for positions. Another student in attendance received a $400 scholarship from the Accreditation Review Council on Education in Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting.

The next conference will be held in New Orleans in 2017.

For more information about the Surgical Technology program, visit WDT Surgical Technology.

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