24 Feb 2015

MakerSpace Fosters Innovative Creativity at LATI

Author: Karen | Filed under: Uncategorized

A new, collaborative space for students and staff at Lake Area Technical Institute is opening this week. The MakerSpace area is a dedicated room designed to promote shared interaction amongst students, faculty, and staff in a creative environment.

MakerSpace offers its users a place to “Think it, Design it, and Build it.” The area is equipped with tools, equipment, and supplies to help foster creativity through 3D printing, painting, crafting, metalwork, and many other avenues.

“The talent across Lake Are Tech is vast,” LuAnn Strait, LATI Director of Student Services, said. “We’re encouraging staff and students to partner with each other and use MakerSpace as a creative and imaginative outlet. The possibilities are virtually endless.”

MakerSpace is a unique, one-of-its-kind venture at the post-secondary education level in South Dakota.

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WATERTOWN, SD – Applications are available starting today for full-ride Build Dakota Scholarships. At Lake Area Tech in Watertown, eligible programs include Automotive Technology, Building Trades Technology, Diesel Technology/CAT ThinkBIG program, Energy Technology/Energy Operations, Electronic Systems Technology, Heavy Equipment Operator, Medical Lab Technician, Practical Nursing and Practical Nursing E-degree (at Huron, Sisseton, and Aberdeen), Precision Machining and Precision Machining E-degree, Robotics and Robotics E-degree, and Welding Technology.

“When you step back and look at the real impact of Mr. Sanford’s gift and matching funds from Governor Daugaard, offering these scholarships at South Dakota’s Technical Institutes gives people more than just a scholarship, it gives them CAREERS and brightens their future!” remarked Mike Cartney, LATI President.  “Amplifying the impact of this gift through additional industry support is the goal of our Stretch the Million, Grow Your Workforce campaign.”
Build Dakota scholarships are available for new, incoming students for the 2015-16 school year. Covered expenses will include tuition and fees, books, equipment and other related program expenses. Scholarship recipients must commit to stay in South Dakota to work in their field of study for three years following graduation.

The early-bird deadline for the Build Dakota Scholarships is March 31, 2015. In-state and out-of-state students are eligible to apply and scholarship applicants must be accepted into their program of interest. Recipients of the scholarship must enroll full-time and complete their educational program on schedule.

The Build Dakota Scholarship program was announced in late 2014. It is made possible by a $25 million donation from T. Denny Sanford and a $25 million grant by Gov. Dennis Daugaard from the South Dakota Future Fund. Build Dakota aims to support students entering high-need workforce programs at South Dakota’s technical institutes to fill the state’s technical career fields with skilled professionals.

To complete an application or for more information, please visit and click on the Build Dakota banner or call Lake Area Tech at 605-882-5284 or 1-800-657-4344.

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Watertown, SD – The third-annual All-Campus Read is underway at Lake Area Tech in a campus-wide effort to encourage reading for fun.

“All-Campus Read was organized to promote literacy and enjoyment through reading,” explained LATI Librarian Nicki Yackley-Franken. “Our goal is to encourage Lake Area Tech students and staff to read for pleasure.”

Interactive activities will complement the book selected for the group to read: The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. Participants are invited to join in activities such as online and guided discussions. An interview contest for Lake Area Tech staff students is also planned in conjunction with the book. More details regarding the events as well as a link to the All-Campus Read Facebook page can be found on the Lake Area Tech website at

LATI All-Campus Read activities will conclude with the announcement of the All-Campus Read interview winners on April 17.

Students, staff, and readers of all ages are invited to join the LATI-All Campus Read. To participate, simply pick up a copy of the book, watch for upcoming events on the website, and start reading!

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9 Feb 2015

Speakers Sought for TEDxLATI Event

Author: Karen | Filed under: News Release

WATERTOWN, SD – The inaugural TEDxLATI event will be held Thursday, April 9, in the Student Center at Lake Area Technical Institute from 9:00 to noon. The independently organized event, licensed by TED, will feature local voices and TED Talks videos under the theme “It’s Your World.”

TEDxLATI event coordinators are accepting applications for speakers interested in being part of this inspirational event.

“We enthusiastically invite people who will inspire, encourage, embrace, excite, and motivate others to speak at this event,” said LATI Educational Technology Specialist Samantha Walder. “We are searching for people who are willing to share their experiences with our audience and whose words will encourage them to positively make a difference in the world.”

For more information or to submit an application to speak at TEDxLATI, please visit Speaker applications are due February 27 and speakers will be notified by March 4.

Launched in 2009, TEDx is a program of locally organized events that bring the community together to share a TED-like experience. Some of the best talks from TEDx events have gone on to be featured on and garnered millions of views from audiences across the globe.

About TEDx, x = independently organized event

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)

About TED
TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California almost 30 years ago, TED has grown to support its mission with multiple initiatives. The two annual TED Conferences invite the world’s leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes on a diverse mix of topics. Many of these talks are then made available, free, at TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Isabel Allende and former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The TED2014 Conference takes place in Vancouver, British Columbia, along with the TEDActive simulcast in neighboring Whistler. TEDGlobal 2014 will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

TED’s media initiatives include, where new TED Talks are posted daily; the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as translations from volunteers worldwide; the educational initiative TED-Ed; and TEDBooks, short e-books on powerful ideas. TED has established the annual TED Prize, where exceptional individuals with a wish to change the world get help translating their wishes into action; TEDx, which supports individuals or groups in hosting local, self-organized TED-style events around the world; and the TED Fellows program, helping world-changing innovators from around the globe to amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.

Follow TED on Twitter at, or on Facebook at http:// For information about TED’s upcoming conferences, visit registration.

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WATERTOWN, SD – Lake Area Technical Institute is hosting Financial Aid Saturday on February 28, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the Student Center. The event is free and open to all students who plan to attend any college in the fall of 2015.

During the event, Financial Aid 101 will take place at three different times: 9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., or 1:00 p.m. for students and parents. These optional informative sessions will shed light on the financial aid process and the deadlines associated with it as well as offer an opportunity to have questions answered by the financial aid staff. In addition, financial aid staff members will be available throughout the day to assist students with completing their FAFSA form.

Students and parents should bring a laptop, 2014 tax information/records of untaxed information, cash savings and checking account balances, investment information (other than your home), social security card or number, date of birth record, and a valid driver’s license.

Registration is encouraged for the event and can be completed at or by calling 605-882-5284 or 1-800-657-4344 extension 274. The LATI Student Center is located at 1201 Arrow Avenue in Watertown. In the event of inclement weather that would require rescheduling of the event, please visit for that information.

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28 Jan 2015


Author: Karen | Filed under: News Release

JANUARY 28, 2015   WATERTOWN, SD…..    Lake Area Tech President Mike Cartney announced today the school has reached a significant milestone enrollment figure. Following last week’s final spring semester student count, it was determined 2,020 students are enrolled through on-campus, online, and dual status classes. This record enrollment number is an increase of 26% over last year’s spring semester number. The overall combined numbers of the fall and spring semesters helped Lake Area Tech meet a long-established goal.

President Cartney commented, “It has been a long-term goal at Lake Area Tech to reach the 2,000 student mark,” he said. “We are very pleased to exceed that number with 2,020 new and returning students enrolled here for the spring semester. This is nothing but good news for business and industry and the work force shortages they are facing.”

Cartney continued, “Lake Area Tech has been privileged to experience the continued growth of the institute and the overwhelming success of its graduates. Our success can be attributed to our exceptional staff, the great partnerships we have with business and industry, and strong community and statewide partnerships.”

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20 Jan 2015

Students Offer Free Income Tax Filing Services

Author: Karen | Filed under: News Release

WATERTOWN, SD – For more than 20 years, second-year students in Lake Area Technical Institute’s Financial Services Advanced Tax class have participated in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program that offers free basic income tax filing services to the public who meet program guidelines.

The program will be held on campus Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning February 3 from noon to 3:00 p.m. in room 203 through March 5. The service is free and is offered on a walk-in basis. Taxpayers from the community should use door 2 or 2A on the west side of LATI.  In addition to their tax information for this filing, all taxpayers will need to show a photo ID for the primary return holder and for all joint return holders, present a Social Security card for each person listed on the return, and bring a copy of last year’s tax return. Taxpayers making less than $53,000 and whose tax return falls within the scope of the program for VITA tax preparers as set by the IRS who need assistance in preparing their tax returns are welcome to take part in the program.

Lorna Hofer, LATI Financial Services Instructor, said the students are well-prepared through coursework, but they must also pass a rigorous national VITA certification examination prior to the filing season. “Studying for and taking the national exam not only educates the students on tax laws and filing procedures, but it addresses all aspects of working with the public including ethics and interview techniques.”

Approximately 200 customers a year come to LATI for the tax service. She said it’s a win-win situation for everyone as students are introduced to the professional aspects of working with customers during this service-learning experience, and the customers are able to obtain tax filing assistance free of charge from VITA-certified students.  Before filing occurs, a quality review process is completed on each return.

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PIERRE, S.D. – Gov. Dennis Daugaard today announced that the state of South Dakota will partner with South Dakota businessman and philanthropist T. Denny Sanford to establish a full scholarship program for students entering high-need workforce programs at in-state technical institutes.

“The establishment of this scholarship will mean that each year hundreds of our young people will have the opportunity to enter high-demand fields without incurring debt,” Gov. Daugaard said. “The impact of this will be huge, not only for the students who receive the scholarship but for our entire state which has been faced with workforce challenges.”

T. Denny Sanford, owner of First PREMIER Bank/PREMIER Bankcard, is a well-known philanthropist and South Dakota business owner. Denny purchased United National Corporation, the parent company for the PREMIER organizations in 1986. Since that time, he has created more than 2,300 jobs within the state of South Dakota. To date, Sanford has donated over $1 billion dollars to organizations across the nation.

“I am extremely grateful for Denny’s generous contribution and can’t thank him enough for the investment he’s willing to make in our young people,” said Gov. Daugaard. “Denny, who has already contributed so much to South Dakota by creating thousands of jobs and giving so much of his own money to a number of organizations, is once again stepping up to making our state a better place.”

The Governor has committed to match Sanford’s donation of $25 million with Future Funds for the Build Dakota Scholarship Program. The $50 million is expected to provide 300 scholarships annually in each of the first five years. From 2020 on, an endowment will continue to award approximately 50 scholarships per year.

“On behalf of Lake Area Technical Institute we are extremely grateful and excited for this generous gift from Mr. Sanford and the State of South Dakota,” said Lake Area Tech President, Mike Cartney. “The doors are now open wide for students pursuing degrees in critical needs areas in South Dakota. Because those students will live and work here following graduation, the positive economic impact for South Dakota will be exponential. We are overwhelmed by the confidence Mr. Sanford is showing in technical education, our staff, our students, and our commitment to our state’s work force.”

Those who are awarded with the scholarship will be required to stay in South Dakota to work in their field of study for three years. A board appointed by the Governor will be established to determine specific requirements and how the scholarship will be administered.

“Business leaders across South Dakota have told me that workforce is the single largest obstacle to our continued economic growth,” said state Economic Development Commissioner Pat Costello. “Some businesses have been unable to expand because of the lack of workers. Others have turned down business. This new scholarship will go a long way in addressing that problem.”

Information on the Build Dakota Scholarship program can be found at

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10 Dec 2014

LATI Honored Nationally for Community Service

Author: Karen | Filed under: Uncategorized

Washington, D.C. – Lake Area Tech was named to the 2014 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for its work in service learning projects both locally and nationally. Lake Area Tech students contributed well over 17,000 hours in community service projects for the 2014 award. Some of those projects included working at Joy Ranch; serving at the Banquet; helping staff with blood drives and flu shot clinics; organizing and contributing to food drives for the Salvation Army and PACH program; fundraising for the Ronald McDonald House, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Special Olympics, and Make-A-Wish; and providing Shoes 4 Kids for orphaned children of inner cities in the United States.

The Corporation for National and Community Service and the U.S. Department of Education honors the nation’s leading colleges and universities, students, and faculty members, and staff for their commitment to bettering their communities through community service and service learning.

“At Lake Area Tech, our faculty instills a sense of community involvement in our students from day one,” said Lake Area Tech Vice President Diane Stiles. “The exceptional leadership opportunities our students experience through community service creates a sense of pride and accomplishment that can only be developed outside of the classroom. We are humbled by this recognition, which truly is a testament to our staff and students’ efforts.”

Lake Area Tech is the only South Dakota college named to the Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction list.  This marks the sixth time Lake Area Tech has received the community service recognition award.  The award program has grown tremendously with approximately 766 colleges nation-wide submitting hours of community service to be considered for the honor this year.

“Service and higher education go hand in hand,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “These schools are inspiring young leaders to roll up their sleeves and work alongside community members to solve problems. By recognizing the institutions who are leading the way to achieve meaningful, measurable results for the communities they serve, we also highlight the vital role all colleges and universities play in addressing community challenges and placing more students on a lifelong path of civic engagement.”

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WATERTOWN, SD – A student from Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown is the first South Dakota student to be appointed to a national American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) position. Melodi Boke, a first-year Occupational Therapy Assistant student from Faulkton, SD, is the new AOTA Assembly of Student Delegates OTA Vice Chairman for 2015-16.

Melodi’s responsibilities will include attending the Association of Student Delegates’ national meeting in Nashville, TN; informing the Steering Committee of associate-level student concerns; meeting with the AOTA Board of Directors on student input to pursue policy changes; coordinating and developing ASD marketing materials for the ASD Annual Meeting; and assisting the chairperson in carrying out other duties as requested.

As the OTA Student Delegates Vice Chairman, Melodi said she is excited to represent OTA students across the nation. “In my new position, I’ll assist in raising awareness of the role of the occupational therapy assistant and also help voice the wishes of OTA programs across the nation.”

Lake Area Tech OTA Program Supervisor Julie Kalahar said on behalf of the Lake Area Tech OTA program, students and staff are thrilled to learn of Melodi’s accomplishment.

“We are excited to have Lake Area Tech’s OTA program represented by such a motivated and intelligent individual at the national level,” she said.  “Melodi’s leadership and willingness to serve is an example to all students that they can make a difference in a profession. She will be a highly sought after OTA when she has completed her education and this amazing opportunity.”

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