South Dakota governor Dennis Daugaard has announced a $25 million commitment from Giving Pledge signatory T. Denny Sanford to provide scholarships to students entering high-need workforce programs at technical institutes in the state.
To be matched with $25 million from the state, the funds will establish and launch the Build Dakota Scholarship program, which is expected to provide three hundred full scholarships annually from 2015 through 2019. Starting in 2020, an endowment will enable the program to award approximately fifty scholarships annually. In exchange for tuition support, fees, books, and other program expenses, recipients of the scholarships must commit to working in South Dakota in their field of study for three years after graduation.
While both in-state and out-of-state students will be eligible for the program, applicants must demonstrate financial need and aptitude in their chosen career area through industry-recognized certifications; technical, dual, or concurrent credit courses taken; career and technical education coursework completed; and work-based learning experiences, internships, and/or work experience. A board appointed by the governor will determine which workforce areas the program will focus on and will administer the program.
"The establishment of this scholarship will mean that each year hundreds of our young people will have the opportunity to enter high-demand fields without incurring debt," said Daugaard. "The impact of this will be huge, not only for the students who receive the scholarship but for our entire state, which has been faced with workforce challenges. The scholarship program also provides an opportunity for communities, economic development organizations, businesses, and individuals from across the state to come together to provide meaningful solutions."