The Build Dakota Scholarship is now open to applicants! (Just be careful when you click: when I opened the new site, welding sparks flashed all over the place.) The scholarship board has decided to spend $25 million of T. Denny Sanford's money and $25 million of our money to subsidize vo-tech degrees in the following eight industry areas:

  1. automotive
  2. building trades/construction
  3. energy technicians
  4. engineering technicians
  5. licensed practical nursing
  6. medical lab technicians
  7. precision manufacturing
  8. welding

(Two points off for lack of parallelism... but that's one of those liberal arts concepts Governor Daugaard says aren't worth our time....)

The BSD Eligible Programs List breaks those critical job fields down to specific degree/diploma programs at Southeast, Lake Area, Mitchell, and Western Dakota. But wait, no counseling? I hear counseling is critical job skill for all sorts of workers:

When state Rep. Lynne DiSanto was attending Chadron State College in Nebraska years ago, eventually earning a bachelor’s degree in business and a master’s degree in counseling, she never knew how those studies would impact the rest of her life.

Today, just a few weeks into her first term as a state legislator, DiSanto now knows that her college preparation has proven invaluable.

“That type of degree in counseling is never wasted, especially in the business world,” said the 38-year-old mother of three from Rapid Valley. “The things you learn about relating to people and understanding people has definitely helped me in the Legislature. It’s critical to understand what’s important to people, including your constituents of course, but your other legislators as well,” DiSanto added. “You learn to talk to people in a way that they understand and that makes sense to them” [Tom Griffith, "DiSanto Jumps into Lawmaking with Vigor in First Term," Rapid City Journal, 2015.02.15].

Empathy, understanding, communication skills... I don't know, Lynne. That all sounds pretty liberal artsy-fartsy to me. Almost downright philosophical. It's a good thing South Dakota's focusing on making good solid practical education free for welders and car fixers, not folks who sit around talking about feelings. Help Build South Dakota with practical jobs—apply today!