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WDTC Hosting SkillsUSA SD Conference & Championship Competitions April 13-14

SD Lt. Gov. Larry Rhoden to Provide Closing Ceremony Remarks Friday

Western Dakota Technical College (WDTC) is honored to host about 300 participants, instructors, and supporters for the 2023 SkillsUSA South Dakota Conference and Skills Championships on April 13-14. The event kicks off at 1:45 p.m., Thursday, April 13, with an Opening Ceremony in the WDTC Event Center.

At 2 p.m., Thursday, career and technical education students, from high schools and colleges across South Dakota, will begin competing in about 30 career-related skill contests. The purpose of the competitions is to show that the students are preparing and/or are ready for careers in manufacturing, transportation, construction, hospitality, and human services. SkillsUSA is considered a talent pipeline and a vital solution to the demand for a skilled workforce.

South Dakota Lt. Gov. Larry Rhoden will attend the competition on Friday, April 14, and will speak during the Closing Ceremony which starts at noon that day.

During skills competitions, students will work against the clock and each other, proving their expertise in occupations such as electrical construction wiring, architectural drafting, welding, automotive service, urban search and rescue, commercial/baking pastry arts, and more. The competitions will take place with the help of industry experts, trade associations and labor organizations, testing competencies set to industry standards. The first-place winners will qualify to compete in the national SkillsUSA Championships, this upcoming June in Atlanta, Ga.

High schools and colleges with students participating in the competitions include Armour High School, Belle Fourche High School, Dakota Valley High School, Douglas High School, Hanson High School, Lead-Deadwood High School, Marion High School, Mitchell Career and Technical High School, Northeast Technical High School, Spearfish High School, Webster High School, Lake Area Technical College, Mitchell Technical College, Southeast Technical College, and Western Dakota Technical College. 

There will be about 225 total competitors. Western Dakota Technical College will have 42 students in about 13 skills competitions.

Ann Bolman, Ed.D., WDTC President, stated that SkillsUSA puts a timely spotlight on the critical need for employees in the state with technical skills of all types. 

“In western South Dakota, the skilled employee shortage has reached unprecedented high numbers. For employers, that is not good news, but for our students competing this year, the skills shortage creates incredible opportunities, and we know participants will be glad they came to show and hone their skills through this competition. Events like SkillsUSA, which elevate the importance of technical skills in society in general, are great news for employers and students alike!” Dr. Bolman said.

Western Dakota Technical College (WDTC) SkillsUSA S.D. Leadership and Skills Contest Event Coordinators are Troy Barry, Welding Instructor, and Chandra Calvert, Director of Industry Relations and Grant Management. Both are members of the S.D. SkillsUSA Board of Directors and have been since 2017 – Barry is the current President; Calvert is a board member. When he was a WDTC student himself, Barry was a S.D. State SkillsUSA Champion. In 2019, he was named one of five SkillsUSA Outstanding Career and Technical Educators and was honored at the national conference.  

Dr. Bolman, Barry and Calvert wish all student competitors the best of luck in their events. They also thank everyone who has made this event possible.

“Regardless of how you do in the events, please know that we know the competition is fierce—after all, South Dakota has long been a leader in technical skills, and it seems we are experiencing a revived appreciation for this important part of our state identity,” Dr. Bolman said. 

About Western Dakota Technical College

Western Dakota Technical College (WDTC) was established in 1968 and is the only technical college serving the western South Dakota region. 

WDTC 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, per the WDTC 2021 Placement Report. There were 326 respondents out of 380 graduates surveyed. [*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 Technical College 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 WDTC, call (800) 544-8765 or (605) 718-2565 or send an email to Visit us on the web at

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