As many of our partners and alumni know by now, I am retiring at the end of this month from my duties as President of MTI and Mark Wilson, current President of Western Dakota Tech, will be taking my place. Mark is an excellent leader with years of experience in technical education, and will do well as the next leader of this institution.
These last seven years at MTI have gone fast for me and it seems like just yesterday when I met many of you and started to collaborate with you in making MTI a “best of class” institution for skilled workforce education. I value the relationships that were created both on a professional and personal levels and thank you for your warm personal welcome and professional support of our institution. I would hope that this relationship continues with Mark and MTI, and would encourage you to reach out to welcome him as you did me.
As we move further into this decade, South Dakota will find itself increasingly short of skilled workers simply because of the demographics and the retirement of the Boomers. The best way for industry to ensure they have the quality workforce they need to grow, is to engage with MTI and the other technical institutes in the recruitment process on the front end in order to get more qualified applicants to consider technical careers. The four South Dakota technical institutes still provide the highest number of graduates that stay in South Dakota among any of the postsecondary schools, and they do it at a lower cost to the student. A partnership where industry helps recruit and pay for part of the cost of schooling in return for a commitment on the part of the student to be an employee of the company when they graduate is quickly becoming the norm for those forward-looking companies that want to ensure they have the skilled workers when they need them.
I have committed the next couple of years to a part-time position as Executive Director of the Skilled Workforce Advocacy Council, where I will continue to further the cause of technical education and development of a skilled workforce pipeline for industry. So while I am retiring from MTI, I’m still engaged in something I feel passionate about. As I go forward with the next stage of life, I hope to continue the personal relationships with as many of you as I can, and hope that you would feel the same.
Thank you for your wonderful support over the last seven years and God Bless.
Greg Von Wald