Western Dakota Technical (WDT) College is excited to announce a new partnership with Wall Meats that is sure to benefit many in this region.
WDT and Wall Meats are working together to implement a Meat Processing instructional program at the college. The collaboration was approved by the WDT Board of Trustees during its February meeting. The goal is, once the program is developed and receives all necessary approvals, to begin courses in 2022.
“There is a current shortage of people skilled in professional meat cutting and processing not only in western South Dakota, but throughout this region and the state. There is great demand for high-quality ‘ranch to table’ protein sources,” said Ann Bolman, Ed.D., Western Dakota Tech President. “This partnership will result in high-need, great paying careers for graduates and will also help meet the demand for more meat cutters and value-added meat processing. Increasing the availability of meat processing professionals and shops also gives ranchers and producers another market for selling their product, making better pricing available for both producers and consumers.”
WDT is exploring offering a three-semester diploma option and a four-semester AAS degree option. Ken Charfauros, Wall Meats owner who approached the college about offering the program, will help develop the curriculum for the specific meat cutting and processing courses to ensure the courses meet industry standards. Charfauros will assist in teaching the courses. Wall Meats will provide the industry-quality laboratory space at Wall Meats facilities needed for the meat cutting and processing “hands-on” courses.
Charfauros knows first-hand the great need for more professionally trained meat cutters and processors.
“We’re honored to enter into this agreement with Western Dakota Tech. We are looking forward to this partnership and there is such a high need right now. People looking to have their own meat processed have had to travel as far away as Gordon, Neb., and often have to wait several months,” Charfauros said. “It is important to learn academically what your industry is all about and that is what we will do. It is good to learn as much as you can in your initial training as opposed to 15 years down the road.”
Western Dakota Tech started a Farm and Ranch Management Program in 2019. Dr. Bolman said a Meat Processing Program will add a highly needed profession within the broader farm and ranch field to the college’s offerings.
WDT Board of Trustees President Mike Roesler expressed the Board’s enthusiasm regarding the new partnership.
“This Board is looking to partner with those who lead in industry. This is a win, win, win. A win for WDT, a win for Wall Meats, and a win for our community. We thank Ken and Wall Meats for looking to partner with us and teach,” Roesler said.
L-R: Ann Bolman, Ed.D., Western Dakota Tech President; Janet Niehaus and Ken Charfauros, Wall Meats Owners, and Kaden Eisenbraun, WDT Farm and Ranch Management Program Director.
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.
Ninety-nine percent of Western Dakota Tech's most recent graduates are working, continuing their education, or are enlisted in the military. [Placement information is derived from graduate surveys, faculty-collected data, placement surveys started six months after graduation, and the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation. Overall placement rate is figured by: (responding graduates employed, continuing education, or in military service)/(responding graduates who are seeking employment). The number of program graduates are unduplicated by CIP code.]
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.
For information about Western Dakota Tech, call (800) 544-8765 or (605) 718-2565 or send an email to Admissions@wdt.edu. Visit us on the web at wdt.edu.