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WDT adds five new diploma and degree options

Western Dakota Tech is addressing the needs of the workforce and students by starting five new diploma and associate of applied science degree programs. The South Dakota Board of Education approved the new programs Monday, May 20. The new programs begin in the fall 2013 semester that starts in August. WDT is accepting applications for all the degree options. The new programs:
  • Bookkeeping diploma
    • Program length: 2 semesters
    • Growth in number of positions (South Dakota): 9.1 percent
    • Average salary (Rapid City): $14.26/hour
  • Healthcare Technician diploma
    • Program length: 2 semesters
    • Growth in number of positions (South Dakota): 12.9 percent
    • Average salary (Rapid City): $11.78/hour
  • Pharmacy Technician associate of applied science degree
    • Program length: Five semesters
    • Growth in number of positions (South Dakota): 26.4 percent
    • Average salary (Rapid City): $15.49/hour
  • HVAC and Plumbing Technology associate of applied science degree
    • Program length: 4 semesters
    • Growth in number of HVAC positions (South Dakota): 23.3 percent
    • Average HVAC salary (Rapid City): $19.02/hour
    • Growth in number of plumbing positions (South Dakota): 10 percent
    • Average salary (Rapid City): $20.28/hour
  • Drafting and Machining associate of applied science degree
    • Program length: 4 semesters
    • Growth in number of mechanical drafting positions (South Dakota): 12.8 percent
    • Average mechanical drafting salary (Rapid City): $18.11/hour
    • Growth in number of machining positions (South Dakota): 13.8 percent
    • Average machinist salary (Rapid City): $17.61/hour
All the programs have been designed with industry input so the courses will provide the skills students need. "Skilled employees are needed in these fields," WDT President Mark Wilson said. "These programs will give students the skills they need to be successful in careers that are growing and in demand." 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 98 percent of WDT's most recent graduates are working, continuing their education, or serving in the military, and 90 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. For information about WDT, call (800) 544-8765 or (605) 718-2565 or send an email to admissions@wdt.edu. Visit WDT on the web at www.wdt.edu.

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Ten graduate from WDT Dental Assistant program

The Dental Assistant Apprenticeship Training Program at Western Dakota Tech in Rapid City held its 22nd annual graduation ceremony on May 14, 2013, for 10 graduates.

The 2013 graduates:

  • Madison Coleman of Rapid City; Sponsor: BH Pediatric Dentistry

  • Tahra Gonzales of Spearfish; Sponsor: Meyer Dana Dental

  • Amy Harvey of Belle Fourche; Sponsor: Nehl Dental

  • Courtni Jones of Rapid City; Sponsor: James Nelson, DDS

  • Kara Kveene of Rapid City; Sponsor: Harold Doerr, DDS

  • Amanda Rasmussen of Rapid City; Sponsor: Bart Samuelson , DDS

  • Hillary Steen of Rapid City; Sponsor: BH Pediatric Dentistry

  • Brandi Swanson of Custer; Sponsor: Destination Dentistry

  • Mary Williams of Rapid City; Sponsor: Center for Dental Excellence


Dr. Harold Doerr, who has practiced Periodontics in Rapid City for 27 years, was the commencement speaker. Dr. Doerr is a fellow of the American College of Dentists and the International College of Dentists. He also has been awarded membership in the Pierre Fauchard Academy and the American Academy of Dental Practice Administration.

The next Dental Assistant program is scheduled for August 20, 2013 to May 13, 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 98 percent of WDT's most recent graduates are working, continuing their education, or serving in the military, and 90 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.

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

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Seven graduate from WDT CDL program

Seven students graduated from the Professional Truck Driving Program at Western Dakota Tech on Thursday, May 16, 2013.

The graduates were Darin Cooper and Nathan Cross of Spearfish; Leonard Moralez, Mark O'Leary, and Robert Stiehl of Rapid City; Clifford Shoemaker of Summerset; and Christopher Schaeffer of Winner.

The students completed the six-week training CDL program and earned their South Dakota Class A commercial driver's licenses.

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 98 percent of WDT's most recent graduates are working, continuing their education, or serving in the military, and 90 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.For information about WDT, call (800) 544-8765 or (605) 718-2565 or send an email to admissions@wdt.edu. Visit WDT on the web at www.wdt.edu.

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Western Dakota Tech graduates 316 on May 18, 2013

Western Dakota Tech will honor 316 graduates during WDT's 45thCommencement, scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday, May 18, in the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Arena.

Graduates from more than 20 programs will receive degrees and diplomas as they culminate their studies and hard work.

"These graduates represent a trained and educated group of workers who will begin careers and make the western South Dakota region an even better place to live and work," WDT President Mark Wilson said. "This is a special day for the graduates and our communities."

Educator, motivational speaker, author, and accomplished runner Elaine Doll-Dunn will join WDT as commencement speaker. WDT also will present two important awards—Distinguished Service and Distinguished Alumni—during the ceremony.

Despite a recovering economy, many graduates secured degree-related employment before the ceremony because of a growing demand for skilled workers throughout the region. More than 98 percent of WDT's 2011-2012 graduates are either working, continuing their education, or serving in the military, and more than 90 percent remain in South Dakota.

"WDT's mission is to train students for the workforce," Wilson said. "Our placement rates show that our students are talented, skilled, and well-prepared for their careers."

The 2013 class pushes the total number of Western Dakota Tech graduates since 1968 to nearly 9,000.

"For more than 40 years, WDT graduates have joined our communities as leaders and built their careers around the skills and behaviors they learned here," Wilson said. "WDT always has—and will continue to have—a significant impact on our communities."

Other commencement activities include:

Friday, May 17:

  • Nursing Pinning Ceremony: WDT will honor graduates from the Practical Nursing program during a pinning ceremony at 10 a.m. in Room ABCD

  • WDT will honor its outstanding graduates and other award winners during the annual Awards Banquet scheduled for 6 p.m. in the WDT Commons.


Saturday, May 18

  • WDT will hold the annual Eagle Feather Ceremony at 9 a.m. in Room ABCD. This is a feathering ceremony to honor the Native American graduates and their accomplishments.


WDT invites the media to all events.

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 98 percent of WDT's most recent graduates are working, continuing their education, or serving in the military, and 90 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.For information about WDT, call (800) 544-8765 or (605) 718-2565 or send an email to admissions@wdt.edu. Visit WDT on the web at www.wdt.edu.

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WDT to hold Eagle Feather ceremony for Native American graduates

Western Dakota Tech will hold an Eagle Feather Ceremony at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 18, in Room ABCD at WDT in Rapid City to honor WDT's Native American graduates.

Approximately 15 native students will receive blessed eagle feathers during the ceremony.

"In Native American culture, it is a great honor to receive an eagle feather," WDT's Special Services coordinator Melanie Garstenshlager said. "It signifies that you have done something great for yourself, your family, or your community. Students have made many sacrifices during their time in school and they are making a better life for themselves and their families."

Native students coming to Rapid City from a reservation town or community have to face numerous challenges, Garstenshlager said.

"They need to adjust to life without their families, which is their main support system," she said. "Also, the adjustment to living independently, managing money, and life in the city can be very overwhelming for most native students."

WDT has services in place to help native students succeed. WDT enrolled 195 native students during the 2012-2013 academic year. Twenty-six native students are scheduled to graduate during commencement, scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday, May 18, at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.

WDT invites the media to the Eagle Feather Ceremony.

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 98 percent of WDT's most recent graduates are working, continuing their education, or serving in the military, and 90 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.

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

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