Revitalizing rural South Dakota

Edgar's picture

Hometowns are the heartbeat of South Dakota. I’m proud to be from a rural hometown. It’s where I learned the values of hard work and self-reliance, where Bryon and I chose to raise our kids, where we started an insurance business and hunting lodge, and where my family has farmed and ranched for a century. But many small towns like ours are struggling today.

In South Dakota, according to our most recent statistics, we have 15,363 job openings and 13,500 people actively looking for work. Unfortunately, what we have is a skills gap – those unemployed workers don’t have the skills necessarily to fill the open jobs.

I strongly believe that the best way to prepare our young people for their careers is through work experience. Over the coming year, I’m asking school leaders to work with me to dramatically increase work experience in our high schools. We need more CTE and skills training in high school. We need more apprenticeship programs. And we need more opportunities for young people to get out of the classroom and experience a real job.


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