Lake Area Technical Institute received a $1,000 Working Here Fund grant for an Ag Demonstration Farm.  The grant is provided through Farm Credit Services of America’s (FCSAmerica) Working Here Fund for Agriculture Education.

The Lake Area Technical Institute will offer hands-on learning experiences on a working farm for students.  The farm offers 70 acres divided into four fields featuring specific crop demonstration purpose for the growing year.  The demonstrations are all based on new agriculture practices that have been recently introduced into the market.

“To optimize planting, fertilizing and harvesting strategies at the farm, precision technologies are incorporated,” said Brian Olson, Lake Area Technical Institute.  “All agriculture students, regardless of which ag-related option they choose, participate in activities on the demonstration farm.”

“At FCSAmerica, we appreciate the opportunity to support the future generation of agriculture producers” said Matt Lindgren, regional vice president of retail operations at FCSAmerica’s Watertown office.

Lake Area Technical Institute is one of 107 organizations to receive a Working Here Fund grant in the first quarter of 2016. FCSAmerica awarded $179,000 during the latest grant cycle ending March 31, 2016.

About Lake Area Technical Institute

Lake Area Technical Institute will be the leader in technical education working in partnership with business and industry and all levels of education.  Lake Area Tech staff will integrate the latest technology and methods of delivering quality education to meet emerging global workforce demands.  Lake Area Tech will continue to develop marketing strategies to promote technical education and will maintain excellence in all programs.

About Farm Credit Services of America

Farm Credit Services of America is a customer-owned financial cooperative proud to finance the growth of rural America, including the special needs of young and beginning producers. With nearly $24.8 billion in assets and $4.3 billion in members’ equity, FCSAmerica is one of the region’s leading providers of credit and insurance services to farmers, ranchers, agribusiness and rural residents in Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming. Learn more at

Photo :  (l-r) Jane Jaspers, Farm Credit Services, Lake Area Tech Ag Instructors, Brian Olson, Jason Karels, Darrel Woolery.

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4 May 2016

LATI Students Place at State SkillsUSA Competition

Author: Karen | Filed under: News Release

WATERTOWN, SD – Students from the Lake Area Technical Institute SkillsUSA Chapter recently competed in the South Dakota State Leadership and Skills Conference competition held on the campus of Lake Area Tech.  Congratulations to the following Lake Area Tech students who placed in their respective categories:

First Place:

Chance Britain (Hot Springs, SD) Welding Fabrication; Justin Brunick (Watertown, SD) Urban Search and Rescue; Brett Gartner (Interior, SD) Welding Sculpture; Matthew Harty (Aberdeen, SD) Cabinet Making; Dylan Hill (Onida, SD) Welding; Wyatt Holmstrom (Castlewood, SD) Welding Fabrication; Ryan Homan (Beardsley, MN) Practical Nursing; Kaitlin Janssen (South Shore, SD) Internetworking; Daniel Kallemeyn (Lake Benton, MN) Welding Fabrication; Joshua Lamb (Onida, SD) Automotive Service Technology; Laura Mcvey (Watertown, SD) CNC Milling Specialist; Tyrel Minor (Brookings, SD) Crime Scene Investigation; Christian Olson (Huron, SD) Crime Scene Investigation; Steven Remington (Black Hawk, SD) Diesel Equipment Technology; Elex Rust (Lake Norden, SD) Carpentry; Jerred Schreur (Sioux Falls, SD) Crime Scene Investigation; Mason Sheehan (Watertown, SD) Urban Search and Rescue; Amberiah Smith (Woonsocket, SD) Esthetics; Zyler Thompson (Watertown, SD) Cosmetology; and Jesse Thorne (Huron, SD) Criminal Justice

Second Place:

Jarrod Boll (Ward, SD) Carpentry; Alexis Buysse (Tracy, MN) Crime Scene Investigation; Trevor Dietrich (Flandreau, SD) Collision Repair Technology; John Heupel (Sioux Falls, SD) Cabinetmaking; Allie Hilgemann (Eureka, SD) Crime Scene Investigation; Christopher Kliegel (Watertown, SD) Internetworking; Heidi Lunders (Roscoe, SD) Welding Sculpture; Alex Maltaverne (Tea, SD) Diesel Equipment Technology; Whitney Schaack (Henry, SD), Cosmetology; Darian Whitlock (Watertown, SD) Crime Scene Investigation; and Shane Yost (Madison, SD) Criminal Justice

Third Place:

William Benson (Sisseton, SD) Internetworking; Makenna Boss (Faulkton, SD) Cosmetology; Brandon Jensen (Blue Earth, MN) Collision Repair Technology; Will Leitheiser (Emery, SD) Diesel Equipment Technology; Riley Potter (Faulkton, SD) Carpentry; Lee Stuessi (Beresford, SD) Automotive Refinishing Technology; and Tyler Varns (Watertown, SD) Criminal Justice

All first place recipients are eligible to advance to the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference June 20-24 in Louisville, KY, where more than 6,000 students will compete. SkillsUSA is a national organization that serves trade, industrial, technical, and health occupations students in high schools and postsecondary technical institutes.

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The Center for Digital Education’s Digital Community Colleges Survey Awards honor community colleges that are using technology to improve how they deliver curriculum and services.

Watertown, SD – The Center for Digital Education (CDE) has announced the winners of its Digital Community Colleges Survey in which Lake Area Technical Institute earned a Top 10 spot in the Small Colleges category (under 5,000).

In its 11th year, the survey analyzes how community colleges use a range of technologies to improve services to students, faculty, staff and the community at large. Award winners demonstrated innovative uses of technology, including online courses and mobile environments, mobile apps, secure platforms and wireless networks.

“This year’s survey indicates community colleges are making great strides in using data to improve decisions, providing professional development to assist faculty in the use of technology, and creating robust online and mobile environments for their students,” said Dr. Kecia Ray, executive director for the Center for Digital Education. “Congratulations to this year’s survey winners.”

All accredited U.S. community colleges were eligible to participate in the survey within three classifications based on size of enrollment. To see the results of the survey and to view the full list of colleges honored, visit

The Center for Digital Education (CDE) is a national research and advisory institute specializing in K-12 and higher education technology trends, policy and funding. CDE provides education and industry leaders with decision support and actionable insights to help effectively incorporate new technologies in the 21st century. Learn more at:

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5 Apr 2016

Accreditation Third Party Notice

Author: Karen | Filed under: News Release, Uncategorized

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Proceeds Benefit Operation Black Hills Cabin

WATERTOWN, SD – The Lake Area Technical Institute Car Club will host its 11th annual Car Show for a Cause Saturday, April 30, 2016. The event takes place in the Lake Area Tech Automotive Technology building from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The car show entry fee is $10.00 with race car registration from 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. All other registrations take place from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. Show classes include Custom Paint & Fab Choice, Automotive Technology Choice, High Performance Engine Machining Choice, Best of Show, and People’s Choice.

Funds raised from the show are designated each year to a cause selected by the students. This year, the students chose to donate proceeds from the annual Car Show and Car Care events to Operation Black Hills Cabin in Custer, SD. Operation Black Hills Cabin offers a week-long respite to qualifying combat-wounded veterans (and their families) from the Iraq/Afghanistan campaigns at little or no expense to them, except transportation. To maintain its affordability, Operation Black Hills Cabin relies on volunteerism for daily operations and monetary donations, fundraisers, and grants to pay for cabin upkeep, utilities, basic supplies for families, etc. For more information, please visit

“When the time came for students to vote on which charity they’d like their fundraising proceeds to benefit, Operation Black Hills Cabin won overwhelmingly,” said LATI Automotive Technology Department Supervisor Brad Herding.  “They were very passionate about supporting military families through this event so we invite everyone to the Car Show in support of Operation Black Hills Cabin.”

Admission for the public is $3 for individuals and $5 per family. Concessions will be available and t-shirts for the event are on sale now. To register for the Car Show, purchase an official t-shirt, or to learn more, contact the Lake Area Tech Automotive Department at 605.882.5284 ext. 219, email, or visit

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WATERTOWN, SD – Lake Area Technical Institute has been selected the South Dakota ACT Career Preparedness Exemplar by the South Dakota ACT Council. Lake Area Tech received the award for its demonstrated commitment to community partnerships and its success in career preparation and placement for its graduates. The award process is part of ACT’s fourth annual College and Career Readiness Campaign, its largest yet with 40 partner states.

ACT’s criteria for award consideration includes:

  • Student success indicators, including retention, graduation, and four-year college transfer rates (especially for underserved student populations)
  • Strength of relationships with local employers and high schools
  • Accessibility of career readiness assessments and career preparation programs
  • Support structure in place for students, especially those from underserved populations

Lake Area Tech will now be considered for National Semifinalist status by an ACT Selection Committee, which will narrow the field to four National Semifinalists. A National Selection Committee, composed of national education and workforce leaders, will choose from the Semifinalists the four National Exemplars, one per category. These National Exemplars, along with all state exemplars and semifinalists, will be honored in Washington, D.C. at the National Gala on College and Career Readiness on June 22, 2016.

To learn more about the ACT College and Career Readiness Campaign and view highlights from prior Campaigns, visit:

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14 Mar 2016

Speakers Sought for TEDxLATI Event

Author: Karen | Filed under: News Release

Media Contact: LuAnn Strait, Director of Student Services


March 2, 2016


WATERTOWN, SD – The TEDxLATI event will be held Thursday, September 15, 2016 in the Student Center at Lake Area Technical Institute from 9:00 am to 12:00 Noon. The independently organized event, licensed by TED, will feature local voices and TED Talk videos under the theme “It’s Your World.”

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

“TEDxLATI is about inspiring our students to create a world that is infused with passion, empathy and a commitment to lifelong learning.” comments LATI Entrepreneurship program instructor, Melissa Meidinger.  “We are enthusiastically looking for speakers with unique ideas that bring our students beyond the physical walls of our building and show them they have the power to make a difference.”

For more information or to submit an application to speak at TEDxLATI, please visit  Speaker applications are due April 15 and speakers will be notified by April 22.

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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22 Feb 2016

Community U Classes Begin March 1

Author: Karen | Filed under: News Release, Uncategorized

WATERTOWN, SD – Community U, a series of fun and informative classes, begins in Watertown March 1 and will feature a variety of topics offered to the public. Community U is a project of Watertown H2O-20, Lake Area Technical Institute, and the community of Watertown.

Classes begin Tuesday, March 1 and will be offered Tuesdays and Thursdays through April 28. Each class is an introduction to a skill, hobby, or topic and will be presented by local community members at area businesses or Lake Area Technical Institute. The Spring 2016 Community U roster of classes includes a wide selection of topics including Estate Planning, Hot Hair Trends, Stained Glass, Succulent Gardening, Essential Oils, Beekeeping, Auctions/Auctioneering 101, Making Natural Soap, Intro to Meditation, Uptown Photo Walk, Gelli Plate Printing, Brewing Beer 101, Self-Publishing, and MakerSpace Make and Take.

Registration takes place through the Lake Area Tech website and the registration fee for each class is $5. (Additional supplies fees apply for select classes requiring materials). For a complete description of the classes or to register, visit and click on the Community U logo.

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Lake Area Technical Institute’s Physical Therapist Assistant program supervisor Chris Barrett can check “Author a Textbook” off of her bucket list.

In the Spring of 2014, Jones and Bartlett Publishers of Sudbury, Massachusetts, contacted Chris to ask if she would consider re-writing the current edition of the Introduction to Physical Therapist Practice for Physical Therapist Assistants. The textbook is the premier academic manual across the nation for the introductory course.

“In addition to my role as a PTA instructor, I’m also a physical therapist and I’m active in my profession,” she said.  “That perspective offered a wide range of experiences that I was able to contribute to the re-writing process.”

After reviewing the textbook, the goal of the re-write was to condense certain areas of the textbook and also add new chapters, Chris said. That goal was met, but the process was more involved than she had originally thought.

“Re-writing the textbook was more than condensing chapters and writing new chapters,” she said. “I also created instructor ancillaries which included accompanying text and pictures as well as Power Point presentations, sample tests, and end-of-chapter discussion questions and learning opportunities.”

All of her hard work became a reality in January 2016 when hard copies of the textbook were delivered to her office at Lake Area Tech. Since then, she’s heard from former students, peers, and friends offering their congratulations on her accomplishment. “It’s been a great professional process for me, but I’m a little overwhelmed by the attention.”

Soon, physical therapist assistant students and instructors from across the country will benefit from Chris’s efforts when the third edition of the Introduction to Physical Therapist Practice for Physical Therapist Assistants textbook is being used in their classrooms this fall.

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JANUARY 29, 2016   WATERTOWN, SD Lake Area Tech President Mike Cartney proudly announces that LATI enrollment continues its remarkable upward trend this spring semester, topping last years’ numbers by 6%. With 342 students entering new programs this spring, the overall enrollment so far this year is 2138 students, which officially launches the college well beyond the significant two thousand student mark.

President Cartney comments, “We are excited to have over 2,100 students enrolled. Our continued growth is good for the college, community and the region, and in turn benefits the workforce.”  In addition to President Obama’s visit, our growth in the technically skilled workforce programs can be attributed to the foresight of Governor Daugaard and T Denny Sanford in establishing the full–ride Build Dakota Scholarship program.”  Students who are awarded the scholarship receive a free education with a commitment to work in South Dakota.

Cartney continues, “Lake Area Tech is privileged to experience the continued growth and overwhelming success of its graduates. Very few colleges throughout the country can say they have had twelve consecutive years of growth. Our success is attributed to our exceptional staff, the great partnerships we have with business and industry, and strong community and statewide support.”

Lake Area Tech was also notified that they have been chosen, for the fourth consecutive time, as one of the nation’s top 150 community colleges making them eligible for the 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.  Lake Area Tech has been awarded an Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence Finalist with Distinction in 2011, 2013, and 2015.