New program filling fast

Students are taking a bite out of the new Dental Assistant program at Western Dakota Tech. The program will begin fall 2016 and is in high-demand with an estimated 19 of the 24 spaces already full and nearly 30 prospective students.

Vice President of Accreditation and Advancement, Steve Buchholz, says the program was added because of the need for dental assistants.

“We want our programs to reflect the needs of the community and give our students the best opportunity to obtain employment after graduation,” Buchholz said. “There’s currently high demand for dental assistants so the program was a natural fit.”

Sarah McCormick will be leading the program. McCormick has 7 years of experience in dental assisting.

The Dental Assistant program is a 36 credit hour, 11-month program.

Graduates of the diploma program will attain knowledge in technical and interpersonal skills, obtain the necessary preparation to successfully complete the Dental Assisting National Board’s exam (DANB), and have the ability to perform a wide range of tasks.

For more information about the new Western Dakota Tech Dental Assistant program, click here.

Throwing hoses


Fire Science students had the opportunity to change into some new gear yesterday and practice their wildfire fighting skills.

Representatives from the U.S. Forest Service were on campus to help students practice hose lays. Students received an overview of techniques for fighting wildfires and practice rolling and throwing out hoses. They also practiced water-spraying techniques.

Instructor Tom Smith said it was a chance for the students to expand their skills.

“It’s a good opportunity to get the students in wildland gear instead of the usual bunker gear,” said Smith. “Fires can happen anywhere, and it’s important to cover a variety of scenarios.”

Forest Service representatives spoke to the students about how fire behaviors vary greatly in different geographical regions and the importance of listening to local crews who are familiar with the terrain.

For more information about the Western Dakota Tech Fire Science program, click here.

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Electrical lab fires up the grill


The smell of freshly grilled burgers is drifting through the halls today as the Electrical Trades department hosts a meet-and-greet for students and professionals in the electrical industry.

“This is our first annual Electrical Trades Open House,” Instructor Bill Flockhart said. “It’s an opportunity for students and industry representatives to meet and make connections.”

Attendees include local electrical contractors, suppliers, dealers, and vendors, as well as Western Dakota Tech electrical students and alumni.

The groups are touring the electrical lab and getting an overview of current projects the students are working on. Flockhart says the goal is to have some fun, eat some food, and get to know each other.

“There’s something for everyone here today. First-year students looking for summer experience, soon-to-be-graduates looking for employment, and employers looking for employees,” said Flockhart.

The instructors are also using the relaxed event to turn the eye on their own efforts.

“It’s also a good opportunity for us instructors to explore ways to enhance the program to better serve the students and the industry,” said Flockhart.

The Electrical Trades program is a hands-on four-semester Associate of Applied Science degree program. It is designed to give students a solid foundation in electrical technology and start them on the path to learning advanced electrical trades skills.

The event ends at 1:00 p.m. today. Flockhart hopes to continue to grow the event annually.

For more information about the Western Dakota Tech Electrical Trades program, click here.

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