The Fashion Merchandising students at Lake Area Tech will host their second-annual Fashion Show Thursday, November 13 at 7:00 PM in the LATI Student Center. The public is invited to attend the show, which will feature fashion and accessories by Edgy Chics and Mainstream Boutique.

There is no charge to attend and refreshments will be served.  Please enter through the main Student Center doors on Arrow Avenue in Watertown.

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WATERTOWN, SD – Lake Area Technical Institute is the recipient of a $2.5 million job-driven training grant according to an announcement Monday by Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez, and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Across the nation, 270 community colleges will share $450 million in grant monies as part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program.

The grants will provide community colleges and other institutions funds to partner with employers to expand and improve their education and career training programs. This will help job seekers obtain the skills they need for high-demand jobs in industries like information technology, health care, energy, and advanced manufacturing.

At Lake Area Tech, grant funds will enhance training initiatives in the Electronic Systems Technology, Energy Operations, High Performance Engine Machining, Precision Machining, Robotics, and Welding programs.

“This grant will help us address the regional workforce needs in Advanced Manufacturing by assisting us in expanding our pipeline at the entry level,” Lake Area Technical Institute President Mike Cartney said.  “We are excited to be working, not only with businesses in Codington County, but in Brookings and Brown counties as well on this endeavor.”

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1 Oct 2014

Lake Area Tech Hosts Car Care Event October 25

Author: Karen | Filed under: News Release

WATERTOWN, SD – The public is invited to participate in Lake Area Technical Institute’s annual Car Care event on Saturday, October 25, 2014, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Lake Area Tech automotive department in Watertown.  Programs hosting the event include Automotive Technology, Custom Paint & Fabrication, High Performance Engine Machining, and Occupational Therapy Assistant.

During the Car Care 40-Point Inspection event, held in conjunction with National Car Care Council events, students thoroughly inspect vehicles brought in by the public. The 40-point checklist includes checking tire pressure/treads, belts, hoses, fluid levels, etc. and ends with a thorough detailing. Occupational Therapy Assistant students offer a Car Fit screen following the inspection to ensure motorists are correctly positioned in the driver’s seat.

This event is free to the public; however, free-will donations will be accepted with all proceeds going to Make-A-Wish® of South Dakota.

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Military Friendly School

WATERTOWN, SDFor the fifth consecutive year, Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown has been named to the coveted Military Friendly® Schools list. The 2015 Military Friendly ® Schools list honors the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that are doing the most to embrace military students, and to dedicate resources to ensure their success in the classroom and after graduation.

According to Lake Area Tech VA Certifying Official Julie Forman, “It is an honor to be included on the Military Friendly Schools list for 2015. We value the commitment our service members have made to our country and we, in turn, are dedicated to helping them achieve educational success at Lake Area Tech as they transition to civilian life. It is a huge transition for our military students and their families and we are here to make it easier.”

In addition to its current array of student veteran services, Lake Area Tech has implemented new marketing and recruitment strategies. These include enhancing the veterans’ services and benefits website information, maintaining an LATI Boots to Books Facebook page, and maintaining a veteran support coordinator. Additional recruiting strategies and marketing campaigns are planned for the coming year.

Now in its sixth year, the 2015 list of Military Friendly ® Schools designation and list by Victory Media is the premier, trusted resource for post-military success. Military Friendly ® provides service members transparent, data-driven ratings about post-military education and career opportunities. As in past years, the survey results were independently tested by Ernst & Young LLP based upon the weightings and methodology developed by Victory Media with input by its independent Academic Advisory Board. Criteria for consideration can be found at, and a complete list of schools can be found through the Schools Matchmaker tool on

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9 Sep 2014

Lake Area Tech Grows 11 Straight Years

Author: Karen | Filed under: News Release

For the eleventh consecutive year, Lake Area Tech has surpassed its record fall semester enrollment with a new total of 1729 students. That number is an 8.5% increase over last fall semester’s enrollment of 1593 students. The increase is driven by a strong return of upperclassmen, a new Law Enforcement program, fourteen programs achieving full enrollment, a significant increase in Dual Status enrollment numbers, and a 9.7% enrollment of online E-Degree seeking students.  In addition, over 300 students are enrolled this fall in LATI’s Agriculture program, which according to Community College Week, is ranked 9th in the nation in ag degree-granting among two-year colleges and four-year universities.

Lake Area Tech President, Michael Cartney comments, “What Lake Area Tech has accomplished in continued growth is something few colleges can say they have experienced. However, we realize that we need to stay focused on the things that have made us who we are by hiring the best faculty, having strong community and industry support, creating a caring culture for students, giving students the skills they need to be successful, retaining them and making sure they have meaningful employment upon completion of their program.”

Lake Area Tech attributes its growth to several factors: the Governor’s Critical Workforce Needs Scholarships resulting in an influx of students into Precision Machining, online Robotics and Energy; 98% placement rate after graduation; offering programs in high-demand, high-pay fields; adding new programs; and expanding online E-Degrees. And significantly, for the third time, Lake Area Tech being named one of the Ten Finalists for the 2015 Aspen Prize for Community College and nationally recognized for its learning outcomes, retention, degree completion, employment and earnings, and success for minority and low-income students.

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LATI in Running for Top Community College Honor for Third Time

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WATERTOWN, SD – Through the National Space Grant and Fellowship Program, NASA’s Office of Education will award more than $17.3 million to U.S. community colleges and technical schools including a $500,000 award to Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown. The purpose of the award is to increase student and faculty engagement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs.

The South Dakota Space Grant Consortium, of which Lake Area Tech is an affiliate, submitted a proposal outlining ways to attract and retain more students in community and technical college STEM programs, develop stronger collaborations to increase student access to NASA’s STEM education content, and increase the number of students who advance from an associate to a bachelor’s degree. The proposal was one of 35 selected across the nation to receive funds.

“Being selected by NASA for this grant is an affirmation of the great work our Aviation and Agriculture departments do,” said Lake Area Tech President Mike Cartney. “We are always looking to expand and improve our STEM programs, and there is no better partner than NASA for such an endeavor.  LATI looks forward to pushing the edge in Agriculture remote aerial operations.  We believe these efforts will prepare students for leading edge careers, making the programs more appealing to female and Native American students.”

Lake Area Technical Institute will conduct UAV operations in cooperation with South Dakota State University. The purpose of the flights will be to collect airborne imagery and/or data to support satellite imagery calibration and precision agriculture practices. LATI (Greg Klein) and SDSU (Dennis Helder) have a proven track record of cooperation in establishing and meeting goals in research projects, the latest being an FAA-funded grant to develop an ethanol-based aircraft fuel. Earlier successes included the first-time ever certification of a “flex-fuel” powered aircraft in a normal category to burn either aviation gasoline or an 85% ethanol blend fuel. We intend to continue this established, strong working relationship for the benefit of the UAV element of this grant proposal.

Under this opportunity, Lake Area Technical Institute will lead a two-year effort to advance interaction between technical institutes and NASA and to elevate the role of technical institutes within the consortium, potentially leading to additional technical institute partnerships in the state. Major emphasis will be directed toward attracting more female and Native American students into STEM programs at technical institutes.

The principle programs that will benefit at Lake Area Tech are Aviation, Agri-Aviation, Environmental Technology, and Robotics. The identified fields have clear relevance within the NASA Mission Directorates and align well with recently formalized South Dakota research and development priorities and industry target sectors. Growth in these fields of study will also open new pathways for technical school graduates to transfer into related programs at the state’s four-year research universities.

Major funding will be directed to student scholarships, NASA Johnson Space Center internships, participation in the Community College Aerospace Scholars program, and on-site research internships.

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WATERTOWN, SD – The Lake Area Technical Institute Agriculture program was named the 2014 Outstanding Post-Secondary Program at the annual South Dakota Association of Agricultural Educators (SDAAE) conference in Mitchell this week.  The conference was held in conjunction with the South Dakota Association of Career and Technical Education conference.

The Outstanding Post-Secondary Program award recognizes excellence in post-secondary and adult agriculture education programs. LATI’s Agriculture program offers students 10 options within the program including Agri-Aviation, Agri-Business, Agri-Production, Commodity Merchandising, Dairy, Environmental, Equine Management, Large Animal, Precision Technology, and Ranch Management. The options are available on-campus in the newly constructed Ag and Environmental Center or online.

Lake Area Tech’s Ag program is the largest program on campus with nearly 300 students enrolled.

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Distinction by The Chronicle of Higher Education Includes Special Honor Roll Status

Watertown, SD – For the sixth consecutive year, Lake Area Technical Institute is one of the best colleges in the nation to work for, according to the latest survey by The Chronicle of Higher Education. The results, released today in The Chronicle’s seventh-annual report on The Academic Workplace, are based on a survey of more than 43,000 employees at 278 colleges and universities across the country. In addition, Lake Area Tech once again earned the distinction of being a 2014 Honor Roll school, a result of its high rankings in the categories surveyed. LATI is the only South Dakota college included on the Honor Roll.

In all, 92 of the 278 institutions surveyed achieved “Great College to Work For ®”recognition for specific best practices and policies. Of those, only 42 colleges, which include Lake Area Tech, achieved Honor Roll status. Lake Area Tech employees rated the institution highly enough to win Honor Roll honors in the following categories: Collaborative Governance, Confidence in Senior Leadership, Job Satisfaction, Professional/Career Development Programs, Respect and Appreciation, Supervisor or Department Chair Relationship, and Teaching Environment.

“At Lake Area Tech, every job is focused on getting our students launched into a good career,” said Lake Area Tech President Mike Cartney. “We do that through a collaborative, open, and mission-driven environment that values everyone’s contributions. To have staff verify that Lake Area Tech is a ‘great place to work’ for the sixth consecutive year affirms our efforts.  No other school in the nation in our category has made the Honor Roll six times.”

The survey results are based on a two-part assessment process: an institutional audit that captured demographics and workplace policies from each institution, and a survey administered to faculty, administrators, and professional support staff. The primary factor in deciding whether an institution received recognition was the employee feedback.

To administer the survey and analyze the results, The Chronicle worked with ModernThink LLC, a strategic human capital-consulting firm that has conducted numerous “Best Places to Work” programs, surveying hundreds of thousands of employees nationwide.

“The institutions that the Great Colleges program recognizes provide innovative educational experiences – while also offering their employees outstanding workplace experiences – and we are eager to help readers learn more about them,” said Liz McMillen, The Chronicle’s editor.

Great Colleges to Work For® is one of the largest and most respected workplace-recognition programs in the country. For more information and to view all the results of the survey, visit The Chronicle’s website at .

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16 Jul 2014

Lake Area Tech Recognized in National Workforce Report

Author: Karen | Filed under: News Release

WATERTOWN, SD – Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown received top billing in a report presented to Vice-President Joe Biden on the future of workforce development. LATI’s incorporation of a hands-on approach with students and the local industrial community was noted first under the report’s “Actively Engage Local Business – Who’s Doing it Right” section.

ThirdWay presented the report, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Workforce Programs,” to Vice-President Biden and U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez.  The report stemmed from a policy forum held last month on the future of the American workforce of which former LATI President Deb Shephard was a participant. The report has been posted at

Lake Area Tech President Mike Cartney notes that, “Being cited in the report to Vice-President Biden reflects the importance LATI places on our ties with the community and regional businesses.  It is those ties that enable LATI to provide superior educational experiences for our students, and great careers for our graduates.”

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