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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WASHINGTON, DC   -  Today, Lake Area Technical Institute President Mike Cartney will join President Obama, the First Lady, and Vice President Biden along with hundreds of college presidents and other higher education leaders to announce new actions to help more students prepare for and graduate from college.

The White House College Opportunity Day of Action helps to support the President’s commitment to partner with colleges and universities, business leaders, and nonprofits to support students across the country to help our nation reach its goal of leading the world in college attainment.

Today’s participants were asked to commit to new action in one of four areas: building networks of colleges around promoting completion, creating K-16 partnerships around college readiness, investing in high school counselors as part of the First Lady’s Reach Higher initiative, and increasing the number of college graduates in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Lake Area Technical Institute, under the guidance of the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program, is responding to President Obama’s call to increase the number of Americans with college degrees.  Lake Area Tech announces its commitment to strengthen student outcomes by redefining success in their mission, vision, and culture as both completion and employment.  This redefinition, coupled with integrating industry into the student success formula, will be supported through a constant feedback and action loop with industry aimed at ensuring the highest levels of quality and relevancy of instruction.

President Cartney comments, “We are certainly privileged to be part of this summit and honored to be recognized for all of the great work by our staff, students and community of Lake Area Tech.  We are excited to implement our commitment and track its success.”

The President will announce new steps on how his Administration is helping to support these actions, including announcing $10 million to help promote college completion and a $30 million AmeriCorps program that will improve low-income students’ access to college.  Today’s event is the second College Opportunity Day of Action, and will include a progress report on the commitments made at the first day of action on January 14, 2014.

Expanding opportunity for more students to enroll and succeed in college, especially low-income and underrepresented students, is vital to building a strong economy and a strong middle class.  Today, only nine percent of those born in the lowest family income quartile attain a bachelor’s degree by age 25, compared to 54 percent in the top quartile. In an effort to expand college access, the Obama Administration has increased Pell scholarships by $1,000 a year, created the new American Opportunity Tax Credit worth up to $10,000 over four years of college, limited student loan payments to 10 percent of income, and laid out an ambitious agenda to reduce college costs and promote innovation and competition.

- 30 -

Watch the live stream

Read the White House blog here:

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WATERTOWN, SD - On Thursday, December 4, Lake Area Technical Institute President Mike Cartney, will join President Obama, the First Lady and Vice President Biden at the White House College Opportunity Summit. The Summit will bring together colleges and universities, business leaders, nonprofits and others that are committed to supporting more college opportunities for students across the country.

The summit will focus on building sustainable collaborations in communities with strong K-12 and higher education partnerships to encourage college attendance, and improving persistence and increasing college completion, especially for first generation, low-income and under-represented students.

Lake Area Tech has been a top ten national finalist for the Aspen Community College Excellence Award three consecutive times, and has one of the highest graduation and placement rates in the nation.  President Cartney comments, “We are certainly privileged to be part of this summit and honored to be recognized for all of the great work by our staff, students and community of Lake Area Tech.”

For more information on how to cover the Summit, please contact and include “College Opportunity Summit Coverage” in the subject line.

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WATERTOWN – Students and staff at Lake Area Technical Institute wrapped up its annual holiday food drive contest last week by exceeding a goal of collecting 2,235 pounds of non-perishable food items for the Watertown PACH Program. Following the two-week long food drive, a grand total of 2,310 pounds of food was collected, beating last year’s record by 75 pounds!

The Cosmetology program donated the most food items by weight with a total of 501 pounds and the Business Associate program contributed the most individual food items with a total of 825 items. For their efforts, those programs will celebrate with a pizza or sub party.

Pictured above are LATI staff members and Aviation Maintenance students who delivered food items to the PACH program following the record-breaking food drive.

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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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