Board announces programs eligible for Build Dakota Scholarship

PIERRE, S.D. – Today (February 13, 2015) the Build Dakota Scholarship Board announced the 54 program options within eight, high-need industry areas that will be covered in the first year of the scholarship program.  The industry areas covered are as follows:

  • Automotive
  • Building Trades/Construction
  • Energy Technicians
  • Engineering Technicians
  • Licensed Practical Nursing (select programs)
  • Medical Lab Technicians
  • Precision Manufacturing
  • Welding

For a complete list of the program options at South Dakota’s four technical institutes, go to

Scholarship applications will be available Feb. 17. The scholarship is available for new, incoming students in the 2015-16 school year. It is expected that approximately 300 scholarships will be awarded in the first year.

In-state and out-of-state students are eligible to apply. Scholarship applicants must be accepted into their program of interest. Recipients of the scholarship must enroll full-time and complete their educational program on schedule. The Build Dakota Scholarship will cover tuition and fees, books, equipment and other related program expenses. Scholarship recipients will commit to stay in South Dakota to work in their field of study for three years following graduation.

The Build Dakota Scholarship program was announced in late 2014. It is made possible by a $25 million donation from T. Denny Sanford and a $25 million grant by Gov. Dennis Daugaard from the South Dakota Future Fund. Build Dakota aims to support students entering high-need workforce programs at South Dakota’s technical institutes to fill the state’s technical career fields with skilled professionals.

State Partners With Denny Sanford To Establish Tech School Scholarships

South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard today (December 17, 2014) announced that the state of South Dakota will partner with South Dakota businessman and philanthropist T. Denny Sanford to establish a full scholarship program for students entering high-need workforce programs at in-state technical institutes.

“The establishment of this scholarship will mean that each year hundreds of our young people will have the opportunity to enter high-demand fields without incurring debt,” Gov. Daugaard said. “The impact of this will be huge, not only for the students who receive the scholarship but for our entire state which has been faced with workforce challenges.”

T. Denny Sanford, owner of First PREMIER Bank/PREMIER Bankcard, is a well-known philanthropist and South Dakota business owner. Denny purchased United National Corporation, the parent company for the PREMIER organizations in 1986. Since that time, he has created more than 2,300 jobs within the state of South Dakota. To date, Sanford has donated over $1 billion dollars to organizations across the nation.

“I am extremely grateful for Denny’s generous contribution and can’t thank him enough for the investment he’s willing to make in our young people,” said Gov. Daugaard. “Denny, who has already contributed so much to South Dakota by creating thousands of jobs and giving so much of his own money to a number of organizations, is once again stepping up to making our state a better place.”

The Governor has committed to match Sanford’s donation of $25 million with Future Funds for the Build Dakota Scholarship Program. The $50 million is expected to provide 300 scholarships annually in each of the first five years. From 2020 on, an endowment will continue to award approximately 50 scholarships per year.

Those who are awarded with the scholarship will be required to stay in South Dakota to work in their field of study for three years. A board appointed by the Governor will be established to determine specific requirements and how the scholarship will be administered.

“Business leaders across South Dakota have told me that workforce is the single largest obstacle to our continued economic growth,” said state Economic Development Commissioner Pat Costello. “Some businesses have been unable to expand because of the lack of workers. Others have turned down business. This new scholarship will go a long way in addressing that problem.”

Information on the Build Dakota Scholarship program can be found at