Mitchell Technical Institute has been notified that it will receive a $2.47 million federal grant to support efforts in training future technicians for the energy industry. The grant funding, part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) competitive grant program, is administered by the US Department of Labor and the Department of Education.
The grants will provide community colleges and other eligible institutions of higher education with funds to partner with employers to expand and improve their ability to deliver education and career training programs that will help job seekers get the skills they need for in-demand jobs in industries like information technology, health care, energy, and advanced manufacturing.
MTI has received three previous grants from the program supporting various areas including energy, technical education at a distance and health sciences. The new project will build capacity by enhancing and expanding Energy Production and Transmission programs supporting TAA-eligible and low-skilled workers throughout South Dakota. MTI, along with several project partners, will address the increased workforce demand for energy and utility technicians due to high attrition, employee retirements, and the expanding industry. Using the three main principles of the Center of Workforce Development’s (CEWD’s) “Get Into Energy Career Pathway,” the program will target outreach and support from recruitment through employment; help develop career pathways and competency-based skill assessment; and include employer involvement in all phases of workforce development.
According to MTI president Greg Von Wald, “This grant comes at a critical time for MTI and for energy-related industries in South Dakota. We have long expected to see experienced technicians retiring at a time when the demand for power has never been greater. We face an ongoing challenge in our state to recruit and train enough workers to fill those employment vacancies, help employers expand services and do whatever we can to answer the governor’s recent call to increase our skilled workforce. The funds from grants like these are vital to MTI to help us achieve our mission.”
MTI will be partnering with Black Hills Corporation, Montana-Dakota Utilities Company, the South Dakota Rural Electric Association and the South Dakota Department of Labor developing programming to support several certificates in the areas of electricity, propane and natural gas, and curriculum enhancements to two existing programs at the school, Electrical Utilities & Substation Technology and Industrial Maintenance Controls Technology, both to be offered for the Associate of Applied Science degree.