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Western Dakota Technical College Students Earn Gold Medals at National SkillsUSA Competition

Three Western Dakota Technical College (WDTC) students recently earned Gold medals at the SkillsUSA National Championship Conference in Atlanta, Ga. Austin Evans (Black Hawk, S.D.) and Lance McNeese (Spearfish, S.D.) placed first in the Cyber Security competition. Jantzen Fisher (New Underwood, S.D.) received Gold in the HVAC-R (Heating, Ventilation, A/C and Refrigeration) competition.

These students participated in one of 108 competitions in career and technical fields. It is the largest skill competition of its kind in the world.

“We are incredibly proud of these students for achieving first place in their competitions,” said Nikki Mark, South Dakota State SkillsUSA Director. “Their successes highlight the exceptional talent we have in our state and we look forward to seeing their future achievements.”

The SkillsUSA Championships took place June 24-29, as part of the SkillsUSA 61st annual National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC), a showcase of career and technical education students. During the week, more than 7,000 outstanding career and technical education students participated.

Students qualified to participate in the national event by earning gold medals in the South Dakota SkillsUSA competition in April.

“I am extremely proud of the WDTC students who competed at Nationals. Achieving first place in their competitions is verification of the education they receive at WDTC,” said John Geiman, Program Director of Computer Science and Advisor for the WDTC National SkillsUSA group. “Their accomplishments highlight the WDTC Computer Science Department's goal to be a Cybersecurity Hub in Western South Dakota and the HVAC-R Department's aim to provide our Industry partners with the highest level of educated and skilled students.”

SkillsUSA serves more than 400,000 students and instructors in middle schools, high schools and college/postsecondary institutions in every state and three U.S. territories. SkillsUSA has served more than 14 million members since its founding in 1965. SkillsUSA programming covers 130 trade, technical and skilled service occupations, and is recognized by the U.S. departments of Education and Labor as integral to career and technical education and a successful model of employer-driven youth development training. For more information:

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

WDTC offers nearly 40 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 Technical College's most recent graduates are working, continuing their education, or are enlisted in the military per the WDTC 2023 Placement Report. There were 353 respondents out of 399 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 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 email Visit us on the web at

Lance McNeese and Austin Evans, L-R, stand at the top of the medal platform as the Cyber Security gold medal recipients at the National SkillsUSA Competition Medal Event in Atlanta, Ga.

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