Funding allows partnership with Builder’s Choice
By David Lias
Gov. Dennis Daugaard has announced that the Vermillion School District is one of a dozen districts across the state to receive a Governor’s Grant for Career & Technical Education.
The amount of the grant for Vermillion School District is $99,380.
The grants will assist school districts in developing career and technical education programs and strengthening programs that already exist. The funds will help the Vermillion School District partner with Builder’s Choice, Inc. to build living units that are shipped to oil and mining fields. In turn, the students will gain building construction skills in areas such as carpentry, electrical, and plumbing.
“That’s a win-win situation for the district,” Superintendent Mark Froke said at Monday’s meeting of the Vermillion School Board, “and also the partner that we will be working with, Builder’s Choice. Builder’s Choice will be providing materials for us to build living units, and also giving us guidance in building these units.
“At the same time, students are going to gaining the skills that they need to go right out to Builder’s Choice and get a good, competitive, paying job,” he said. “I’ve really got to thank, of course, the governor for doling out those dollars and Tom Golian at Builder’s Choice for working with us. I was just out with him today to reaffirm our partnership and he reassured me that everything he said previously as far as providing materials and equipment, he is staying with.”
Golian is the general manager of the Vermillion manufacturing firm.
Students will learn skills that will help them secure jobs right out of high school with Builder’s Choice, Inc. or any other construction firm. In addition, students will gain skills to give them a head start in pursuing postsecondary education in the field of building and construction.
“Builder’s Choice, Inc. will be a vital partner in helping to prepare students for viable jobs after graduation or education beyond high school,” said Froke. “We are excited about this opportunity to partner with our local business and industry to help develop a future workforce as well as help students gain employment skills.”
In all, 26 districts applied for these grants.
“While we couldn’t accommodate every proposal, this is a good start,” said Daugaard. “I’m glad to be able to support some of the programs that are helping more young people learn, work and live in South Dakota.”
District 17 State Sen. Tom Jones, and District 17 State Reps. Nancy Rasmussen and Ray Ring were on hand for the grant award ceremony held on Wednesday, Feb. 5, in the State Capitol with Daugaard as the main speaker.
“CTE programs are crucial in preparing South Dakota students for all the opportunities awaiting them after graduation,” Daugaard said. “Programs are strongest when all the key players work together; secondary education, postsecondary education, and business and industry.”
The grants were made available through the South Dakota Future Fund, which was created by Gov. George S. Mickelson to invest in South Dakota’s workforce and build its economy. They are available on a one-time basis, so grant projects must be self-sustaining beyond this initial investment.
“We are going to do some very nice things with this (grant),” Froke told the school board. “I look forward to it, and we’re going to address a student need, and a workforce need, and a community need.”
Members of the school board agreed Monday to authorize the seeking of bids for the construction of a new metal building that would house students’ construction activities.