It’s been a multi-year undertaking to prepare South Dakota’s youth for careers and opportunities available to them without leaving their home state.

Governor Dennis Daugaard has made workforce development a prime objective which is of great interest for Jennifer Tuttle with Sioux Falls Development Foundation. As the group’s Workforce Development Manager she knows first-hand how students benefit.

“The Governor has done a really good job making workforce (development) a high priority. He has implemented apprenticeship models throughout the state, putting career advisors in the Sioux Falls schools, helping students get on a career path at an earlier age and having them explore different careers, so they’re not switching a few times before they make their final decision.”

Although the Governor’s previous efforts stand on their own, Tuttle believes there are other areas that could use improvement.

“Training and development so we don’t have turnover would be a great step in the right direction. Companies say that if they can get their new employees to stick it out for a year or two then they have them. It’s just getting those people to stay there for that year or two to see the benefit long term.”

One specific part of the workforce that needs assistance are the trades such as carpentry and plumbing. Tuttle believes part of that stems from the fewer students who grow up honing those skills on the farm.

Starting out in occupations that require manual labor are tough early, but Tuttle says by paying your dues, the rewards including compensation will eventually arrive.

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