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State Board of Education approves new WDT programs

The South Dakota Board of Education approved three new programs for Western Dakota Tech on Monday, August 24, 2015. The programs are Cybersecurity, Dental Assistant, and Medical Laboratory Technician.

Labor market information indicates that demand for workers in these fields is strong in South Dakota and nationally. WDT strives to offer programs with exceptional job outlooks to benefit students and the community. WDT will offer the programs beginning in 2016.

Cybersecurity students will complete classes in network security, network defense and countermeasures, information security, databases, computer forensics, and more. The industry is currently experiencing unprecedented growth due to the dramatic increase of computing and communications technologies across the globe. Through 2022, the number of Information Security Analysts will grow by 25 percent in South Dakota and 37 percent nationally.

Dental Assistant students will complete classes in basic radiography, pre- and post-operative patient care and instruction, chairside assisting, taking tooth and mouth impressions, supervised practice, equipment maintenance and sterilization, medical record-keeping, general office duties, reception and patient intake, and scheduling. Through 2022, the number of dental assisting positions will grow by 12.7 percent in South Dakota and 25 percent nationally.

Medical Laboratory Technician students will complete classes in general laboratory procedures and skills; laboratory mathematics; medical computer applications; interpersonal and communications skills; and the basic principles of hematology, medical microbiology, immunohematology, immunology, clinical chemistry, and urinalysis. Through 2022, the number of Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technicians will grow by 17.6 percent in South Dakota and 30 percent nationally.

"WDT is excited to add these three options because the need for skilled workers in these fields is so great," WDT President Ann Bolman said. "Students will graduate from these programs with the knowledge, skills, and behaviors they need to be successful."

For information about the new WDT programs, call (800) 544-8765 or (605) 718-2565 or send an email to

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WDT holds orientation for full-ride scholarship students

The inaugural group of WDT Build Dakota scholars will attend an orientation to learn about campus and their full-ride scholarships that will pay all tuition and other expenses while preparing students for high-need careers in South Dakota.

The orientation will run from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Thursday, August 13, on the WDT campus. WDT invites the media to attend.

WDT awarded 89 full-ride scholarships for the 2014-2015 year. These scholarships will pay for tuition, fees, books, supplies, tools, uniforms, laptop computers, and other educational expenses.

"We are so proud to host this special group of students," WDT President Ann Bolman said. "These scholarships will help these students prepare for in-demand careers in South Dakota while not taking on student loan debt. This is great news for them and for South Dakota."

The event will introduce students to resources available on campus and online. Students will attend speaker sessions, tour campus, pick up schedules, and have questions answered before classes begin August 24.

Between 2014 and 2018, $50 million dollars will be invested through private donations from T. Denny Sanford and the South Dakota Future Fund to create and operate the Build Dakota Scholarship program.

Scholarships will be awarded to students entering high-need workforce programs at South Dakota's technical institutes to fill the state's technical careers with skilled professionals. Recipients of the full-ride scholarships will commit to living and working in the state, in their field of study, for three years following graduation.

WDT awarded every available scholarship for this year. Applications will be available once again in November 2015 for the 2016-2017 year.

Learn more about Build Dakota Scholarships at

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Professional Truck Driver students graduate from WDT

Western Dakota Tech held a graduation ceremony for students of the Professional Truck Driver Program at 10:00 a.m. yesterday, July 15, on the WDT campus.

The ceremony took place through the Corporate Education Center, a division of WDT. Four students graduated from program:

  • Russell Blakeman of Belle Fourche

  • Jonathan Groce of Rapid City

  • Tyler Motsick of Rapid City

  • Donald Schweigman of Rapid City

The program is a six-week class designed to prepare men and women for over-the-road semi-truck driving employment. Students use classroom instruction and behind the wheel experience to learn road skills, yard skills, vehicle control and inspection training, as well as other trucking skills. Trucking recruiters are welcome at the school and are encouraged to visit each class.

The next class is scheduled for September 9, 2015. For more information about this program or to register, please contact the WDT Corporate Education Center at 605-718-2410.

The Corporate Education Center offers short-term classes, custom training, events, seminars, career programs, and more to help companies train employees and to help students be successful in new and current careers.

WDT is the only technical institute that serves the western South Dakota region. WDT offers more than 20 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 98 percent of WDT's most recent graduates are either working or continuing their education, and more than 93 percent of those placed in careers are working in South Dakota.

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WDT welcomes new President

Ann Bolman01Western Dakota Tech is pleased to welcome Dr. Ann Bolman to campus as WDT's new President. She comes to WDT after 25 years of higher education experience in Texas.

Dr. Bolman will assume leadership of the campus July 24, pending approval by the Rapid City School Board on July 14. Dr. Bolman replaces Mark Wilson, who left WDT in June to become President of Mitchell Technical Institute.

"I was so impressed when I met with faculty and staff with the commitment they have to the students," Dr. Bolman said. "You don't see that everywhere. When I saw that, it really excited me about the potential for the school."

From 1990 to 2009, Dr. Bolman served at Grayson College, Texas, as a reading and writing instructor, director of developmental education, Assistant Dean, and Dean.

Dr. Bolman says she has been looking for a college that understands the impact technical institutes can have on the local and regional economy. She is impressed with the progress WDT faculty and staff have made with community and regional development and with improving student learning and retention.

Dr. Bolman feels her skills with strategic program and resource development and her focus on partnerships and collaborations on and off campus make her a good fit for WDT.

"WDT is a great institution and has wonderful potential," Dr. Bolman said. "I am excited to be part of that bright future."

During her career, Dr. Bolman:

  • Managed department, division, and instructions budgets up to $14 million.

  • Identified, acquired, prioritized, and allocated resources on a need-based system.

  • Wrote, received, and managed several grants.

  • Partnered with regional universities to develop articulation agreements to allow skilled technical graduates to complete bachelor's degrees.

  • Served as member of the Lone Star College Completion Council to implement system-wide reforms in developmental education, student tutoring, and advising services across all Lone Start College campuses.

  • Led the development of a campus-wide peer tutoring program to support the needs of technical and workforce students, particularly in areas such as EMT, criminal justice, and fire science.

  • Developed strategies to assist students in transitioning from adult basic education preparation/GED courses into career and technical programs.

  • Developed basic skills instruction that was embedded into career and workforce programs aimed at supporting student progress in technical programs while simultaneously building basic skills.

  • Worked as a full-time faculty member teaching developmental reading and writing, during which time her students had the highest and second-highest pass rates on the statewide standardized placement test.

Dr. Bolman wants the community to know she has an open-door policy and wants to hear from those who need WDT's assistance. She will be taking a lot of time in the early months of her tenure to get to know everyone on campus and in the community.

"If there's something WDT can help with, I want to know about it," Dr. Bolman said. "I really want to hear everyone's dreams for the school, its programs and its role in the community."

Dr. Bolman earned a Doctor of Education degree in English from Texas A&M University-Commerce, a Master of Arts degree in English from Texas A&I University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Texas A&I University.

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

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WDT breaks ground June 30 on expansion

Western Dakota Tech broke ground Tuesday, June 30, 2015, on multiple expansion projects that will help WDT better meet the needs of students and the community.

The expansion project includes:

  • Diesel Service Technology Lab: This 31,110-square-ffot lab will be constructed north of the main entrance. It will give students plenty of room to practice skills needed for success and allow the Diesel program to move from the Rushmore Building on Mickelson Drive to the main campus.

  • Medical Simulation Lab: Home to some of the most high-tech equipment in healthcare education, students training in this 8,780-square-foot facility will use high-fidelity, responsive, lifelike patient simulators to log clinical hours and practice real-life scenarios with no risk of endangerment. WDT's long-term vision is to make the Simulation Center a training location for healthcare professionals from across the region.

  • Event Center: Seating 450 people in a round-table setting, this 13,130-square-foot center will provide a large gathering place for WDT events, conferences, regional training opportunities, and the community.

  • Public Safety Building: The new, 15,435-square-foot Public Safety Building will provide flexible and real-world inspired education opportunities to students in WDT's Law Enforcement, Fire Science, and Paramedic/EMT programs. It will allow students in these programs to learn and work together under one roof just as they will after graduation.

  • Kitchen Renovation: An expansion of the current commons area and complete kitchen remodel will rejuvenate the space students call their own and make it more functional and inviting.

This expansion will prepare WDT for an exciting future full of opportunity. Once complete, the project will fuel future growth so WDT can play a bigger role in making Rapid City and western South Dakota even better places to live and work.

Construction begins soon. The expansion is scheduled to be ready for use by the beginning of the Spring 2017 semester.

For information about WDT, call (800) 544-8765 or (605) 718-2565 or send an email to



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