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Finish Strong Scholarship Now Available for Second-Year Tech Students

Deadline to Apply for $5,000 Scholarships is May 10

A 2018 visit to South Dakota as part of the New Day in Tech Ed event inspired Mike Rowe and the mikeroweWORKS Foundation to offer a new scholarship opportunity to South Dakota students pursuing a technical school education. Inspired by Build Dakota Scholarships, the mikeroweWORKS Foundation found an opportunity to partner with them to offer scholarships for second-year tech students who may also be in need of financial assistance.

The mikeroweWORKS Foundation is partnering with Build Dakota Scholarships on this opportunity because Rowe was impressed by the Build Dakota Scholarship program. “What’s being done here in South Dakota is a template for what every state should be doing,” said Rowe. “We have 6.5 million open jobs in our country right now, and a vast amount of those jobs don’t require a fouryear degree. They require training, and that's why we’re providing this opportunity.”

The new Finish Strong Scholarship will award up to 10, second-year South Dakota technical education students with $5,000 to be used for tuition. The mikeroweWORKS Foundation provided a gift of $25,000 that will be matched by the state of South Dakota Future Fund for a total of $50,000.

“We at Western Dakota Tech are excited to offer this new scholarship opportunity to our second-year students. This amazing opportunity is testament to the belief in our students, technical education, and South Dakota," said Danita Simons, Western Dakota Tech Foundation Director.

Applicants for the Finish Strong Scholarship must be currently enrolled in a South Dakota technical school and in the second year of a two-year program. Scholarship applicants will be required to sign The S.W.E.A.T. Pledge, a promise to live by Rowe’s own standard for work ethic and personal responsibility.

“The mikeroweWORKS Foundation has stepped up and provided opportunities for thousands of young people across the country,” said Build Dakota Chair Dana Dykhouse. “We were fortunate to have Mike join us in South Dakota last September and are thrilled we can partner for a South Dakota specific scholarship.”

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem also praised Mike Rowe and the Finish Strong Scholarship. “Between the success of the Build Dakota Scholarship program and Mike Rowe’s incredible commitment to technical education and apprenticeships across the country, I couldn’t be more excited about this new scholarship,” said Gov. Noem. “Workforce is one of my top priorities and this program offers one more opportunity for young people in South Dakota.”

The student application process opened today and closes on May 10, 2019. Technical school teachers and administrators are also encouraged to visit the website and submit an email on behalf of deserving students. Learn more about the Finish Strong Scholarship at

About Build Dakota
The Build Dakota Scholarship Fund was set up to assist in overcoming the workforce shortage South Dakota faces. While the original $50 million fund has made and will continue to make a significant impact by providing students with training in high-need technical areas, Build Dakota is always pursuing new avenues to help South Dakota students.

About mikeroweWORKS
The mikeroweWORKS foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity that works hard to debunk myths about the skilled trades and help close the skills gap. As the CEO, Mike Rowe speaks regularly about the country's dysfunctional relationship with work and challenges the persistent belief that a four-year degree is the best path for the most people. The mikeroweWORKS Foundation gives away a modest pile of money to people getting trained for skilled jobs that are in demand through several scholarship programs, most notably through the Work Ethic Scholarship Program. Since its inception, the mikeroweWORKS Foundation has granted, or helped facilitate the granting of, more than $5 million in Work Ethic Scholarships and other like-minded programs or initiatives that support technical and vocational education.

About Western Dakota Tech

Western Dakota Tech was established in 1968 and is the only technical college serving the western South Dakota region.

Western Dakota Tech offers programs in a variety of fields, including Business and Computers, Construction and Manufacturing, Energy and Environmental Technologies, Health Sciences, Legal and Public Services, and Transportation Technologies.

More than 96 percent of Western Dakota Tech's most recent graduates are working, continuing their education, or are enlisted in the military.

Western Dakota Tech faculty, staff, and administration focus their efforts on helping students gain the skills and experiences they need to succeed. Through hands-on learning, internships, and industry partnerships, Western Dakota Tech students graduate ready to make a real and immediate contribution to their employers and to their communities.

Western Dakota Tech is located at 800 Mickelson Dr.

For information about Western Dakota Tech, call (800) 544-8765 or (605) 718-2565 or send an email to Visit us on the web at

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