A South Dakota man will get a jump start on his career thanks to the Build Dakota Scholarship program and Masaba. Masaba is partnering with Build Dakota and Mitchell Technical Institute (MTI) to address its projected need for welders through participation in MTI’s Double Edge program.
Lofton Covington will enroll in MTI’s Welding & Manufacturing Technology program this fall. Under the program, his education is jointly funded by Build Dakota and Masaba. Covington must maintain an academic standard to remain eligible, and commit three years of post-grad service to the company.
“The rigors of the industries we serve, and the varied and high-tech nature of our manufacturing processes require that we have a highly skilled workforce to meet the demands of our customers,” said Jerad Higman, Masaba president. “In a tight labor market, quality people are hard to come by, so when the Double Edge opportunity presented itself, it was an easy decision to make this investment in Lofton and in our company.”
Build Dakota was created earlier this year out of a $25 million gift to South Dakota’s four technical institutes by philanthropist T. Denny Sanford. Over the first five years of the program, the equivalent of approximately 1,200 full-ride scholarships will be awarded to qualifying students in eligible academic programs. The state of South Dakota matched the Sanford gift, and those funds were placed in an endowment, which will continue to fund the Build Dakota program after the initial funds are invested in South Dakota’s future technical workforce.
“MTI’s Double Edge and WRP are exciting programs for our students and employers. Participating in these programs will better position both the employer and the students for future opportunities,” said Rita Nelson, Workforce Development Coordinator with Yankton Area Progressive Growth. “The sponsoring company plays an active role in mentoring, educating and building their qualified workforce. The student receives more than a valuable scholarship for an excellent education, they build a mentorship relationship and career opportunities.”
According to Mark Gerhardt, MTI’s Vice President of Industry Relations, “in the five-year existence of the WRP program, we’ve had over 20 companies in seven different industries sponsor dozens of students who are now employed by those companies. Once the pipeline of talent starts to flow, the enthusiasm for the WRP grows, and most companies increase their level of participation. The rate of growth should be even greater with the Double Edge.”