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WDT launches new Precision Machining program

WDT launches new Precision Machining program

Western Dakota Tech's new Precision Machining program prepares students for better careers while offering the benefits and experience of hands-on learning.

WDT will begin offering the new nine-month diploma degree in the Fall 2014 semester. Plans are in place for a state-of-the-art precision machining lab to be built in conjunction with the program. The lab will contain high-quality mills and lathes and other industry-specific equipment.

The new program holds true to WDT's mission of changing lives and building futures.

"Machining jobs are in-demand on a local, state and national level. That makes the Precision Machining program a great fit for Western Dakota Tech," said WDT's Dean of Accreditation and Advancement, Steve Buchholz. "This program is aligned with industry expectations and focused on student success."

The Precision Machining Technology graduate will be able to set up and operate a variety of machine tools to produce precision metal parts, instruments and tools. Machinists use machine tools, such as lathes, milling machines and grinders to produce precision metal parts. Although they may produce large quantities of one part, precision machinists often produce small batches or one-of-a-kind items. The parts that machinists make range from simple bolts of steel or brass to titanium bone screws for orthopedic implants. Hydraulic parts, anti-lock brakes and automobile pistons are other widely known products that machinists make.

Labor market information for South Dakota and the nation shows there is demand for machinists now and in the future. Between 2010 and 2020, the number of machinists in South Dakota is expected to grow by 15.2 percent, according to the South Dakota Labor Market Information Center. Nationally, the number of machinists is expected to grow about 7 percent between 2012 and 2022, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook.

According to the United States Department of Labor, the median annual wage of machinists was $40,910 in 2012.

The program will utilize WDT's community-like learning setting, a helpful student support staff and instructors who are industry experts. Personalized admissions assistance and a low-stress financial aid process is available for all students.

Students applying for the Precision Machining program may be eligible for a Critical Needs Workforce Scholarship. The scholarship rewards students who enroll in a field that's experiencing a shortage of qualified, skilled employees. Students are eligible to receive up to $5,000. The Critical Needs Workforce initiative is funded by the South Dakota Governor's Office and the South Dakota legislature in 2014.

Western Dakota Tech is the only technical institute that serves the western South Dakota region. WDT offers more than 30 programs in a variety of fields, including Business and Computers, Construction Trades, Health Services, Legal and Public Services, Manufacturing and Mechanical Trades, and Science and Technology. More than 97 percent of WDT's most recent graduates are working, continuing their education or serving in the military. Eighty-five percent remain in South Dakota.

WDT 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, WDT students graduate ready to make real and immediate contributions to their employers and their communities.

Learn more about Precision Machining here, or by contacting WDT at (800) 544-8765, (605) 718-2565 or

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