29 Sep 2015

LATI Foundation Hosts Annual Feuerstein Seminar Series

Author: Karen | Filed under: News Release

The public is invited to join the Lake Area Tech Foundation at this year’s annual Feuerstein Seminar:

Fun is Good  - The Power of Passion, Creativity & Engagement
Tuesday, October 13, 2015
1:00 – 4:30 p.m.

LATI – Student Center
1201 Arrow Ave – Watertown, SD

The proven Fun Is Good philosophy outlines how a fun and passionate work environment leads to a creative and engaged workforce. Study after study proves that fun (the Fun Is Good philosophy) has a positive physical and mental impact on work productivity.

When people have fun and are engaged in what they do, they help create a healthier environment for themselves, their co-workers and their customers.

The Fun is Good Team will tap into their experiences to punctuate how fun, passion and creativity can help us develop as business owners, managers, employees, and personally as community members as we work toward continued personal and professional growth. Through fun and entertaining stories, they will share their experiences, including some nice successes and a few big-time failures.

REGISTER ONLINE at or via mail/phone.

$35 per person
$20 per person (for paid registrations of 5 or more!)
Group rate is available to businesses and community members!

Please call the Foundation office for more information at 605-882-5284 Ext. 292

Comments Off
21 Sep 2015

Lake Area Tech Highlighted in National PBS Documentary

Author: Karen | Filed under: News Release

Lake Area Technical Institute will once again be featured on Dropping Back In, a series about the huge personal and societal costs of America’s dropout crisis, airing on South Dakota Public Broadcasting’s World channel  Sunday, September 27, at 4:00 pm (CT) and Tuesday, September 29 at 8:30 pm (CT). For more information, go to

In the documentary’s four half-hour segments, viewers will meet some of America’s dropouts, come to understand the issues they face, and learn about the people and institutions – like Lake Area Tech – that are helping them drop back in and move on with their education and lives.

Because of its successful graduation rate and unique program planning, Lake Area Tech was invited to participate in the documentary based on a recommendation by Josh Wyner, Executive Director of the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence program.  The interviews and images focus on how Lake Area Tech’s best practices, program innovation, and successful outcomes have contributed to student success.

Comments Off
21 Sep 2015

’65 Chevy Bel Air Winner Drawn!

Author: Karen | Filed under: News Release

Congratulations to the winner of the 1965 Chevy Bel Air!

Kristina Rieffenberger of Watertown drove away in the Bel Air after her name was drawn from an estimated 3,700 raffle tickets at the Vintiques Car Show. For the last three years, students in Lake Area Tech’s Auto and Custom Paint & Fab programs diligently worked on its restoration in commemoration of LATI’s 50th anniversary this year. Ticket sales began at last year’s Festival of Trees (which is where Kristina purchased hers) and were still being sold just minutes before the drawing. A grand total of an amazing $64,307 in tickets sales was tallied! All proceeds from the raffle benefit scholarships at Lake Area Tech. We thank everyone who supported this effort and congratulations again to Kristina!

Comments Off
9 Sep 2015

LATI Experiences a Dozen Years of Growth

Author: Karen | Filed under: News Release

SEPTEMBER 9, 2015  WATERTOWN, SD…..  For the twelfth consecutive year, Lake Area Tech has surpassed its previous fall semester enrollment with a total of 1,846 students. That number is a 7% increase over last fall semester’s enrollment of 1,729 students. The freshman class count is also up at 1087 new students, which is a 6% growth from last years’ incoming group. The overall increase is driven by a strong return of upperclassmen, eleven programs achieving full enrollment, 89 new online E-Degree seeking students compared to 65 at this time last year and a significant increase in Dual Status enrollment.

Lake Area Tech Director of Student Services, LuAnn Strait comments, “What Lake Area Tech has accomplished in growth the past twelve years is something few colleges can say they have ever experienced. With the national attention we’ve drawn this past year by receiving the Aspen Prize recognition as one of the top two-year colleges and President Obama delivering our 2015 commencement address, we were fully aware that there could be an influx of interest in Lake Area Tech.”  Strait continues, “The interest was definitely there, but we wanted to make sure we didn’t lose sight of the things that have made us who we are – a college who provides a caring culture for students, hires the best staff, has strong community and industry support, gives students the skills they need to be successful, retains students and makes sure they have meaningful employment upon graduation.”

Lake Area Tech attributes its growth to several factors: the full-ride Build Dakota Scholarships, 98% placement rate after graduation; the ability to offer programs in high-demand, high-pay fields; the growing popularity of online E-Degrees; and being named a Finalist with Distinction for the 2015 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence which nationally recognizes the learning outcomes, retention, degree completion, employment and earnings, and success for minority and low-income students.

Comments Off
8 Sep 2015

Community U Classes Begin September 22

Author: Karen | Filed under: Uncategorized

WATERTOWN, SD – If you’re looking for a fun and educational evening with friends, your options are only a click away!  Community U, a collaboration between Lake Area Tech, Watertown H20-20, and the community of Watertown, is a semester-long series of educational, inspirational, creative, and fun classes that are offered to the public on LATI’s campus or at a local business.

The fifth round of Community U classes begins September 22 and will last through mid-November. The one-night courses include Coffee & Create, Glacial Lakes Distillery Tour, Basic Car Maintenance, Genealogy, Photographing Children, Cupcake Decorating, 3D Modeling, Couples Massage, Brush Up on Ukraine, Antiquing/Repurposing, Party Appetizers, Making Lefse, Home Decorating, Fall Makeup Trends, and Hands-On Technology. The cost of the courses is only $5 with the exception of classes that have a supplies fee.

To see the Fall 2015 Community U schedule or register for classes, please visit and click on the homepage’s Community U banner.

Comments Off
20 Aug 2015

Annual Car Care Event is Oct. 3

Author: Karen | Filed under: News Release

Proceeds to Benefit Operation Black Hills Cabin

WATERTOWN, SD – The public is invited to participate in the Lake Area Tech Car Club’s Car Care event on Saturday, October 3, 2015, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the automotive department on the campus of Lake Area Tech in Watertown.  Programs hosting the annual event include Automotive Technology, Custom Paint & Fab, 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 but free-will donations will be accepted with all proceeds benefiting Operation Black Hills Cabin. Founded in 2011 by a retired military couple, OPERATION BLACK HILLS CABIN is located in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota. Its purpose is to offer a week-long respite to qualifying wounded veterans (and their families) from the Iraq/Afghanistan campaigns at little or no expense to them, except for transportation. For more information, please visit

Comments Off

July 13, 2015              Watertown, SD - Former Watertown resident, Julie Stevenson has been selected to lead the Lake Area Tech Foundation and began her employment with the organization on July 20.

Stevenson comes to Lake Area Tech with previous experience in Foundation work. She was employed with Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System as the Campus Foundation Director and Marketer/Community Liaison for Minnesota West Community and Technical College. Through these positions, she was involved in a wide array of fundraising, investments, community leadership activities, marketing, and public relations.

Stevenson also served as the Executive Director of the Aberdeen Public School Foundation working with Central High School alumni, area business and industry, as well as faculty and staff to build the Foundation assets to foster scholarship and development opportunities for students in the Aberdeen Public Schools.  She also worked as the Public Relations/Marketing Manager for the Sanford Aberdeen Medical Center as the new hospital was being constructed and introduced to the community.  She worked with Sanford Aberdeen until relocating to Lincoln, NE with her husband, Eric.

President Cartney comments, “This is a position where we needed a top-notch individual. Julie has the background and personality we are looking for to continue the success of the Lake Area Tech Foundation.  We are excited to see where she will take the organization and know she will be a good fit within our community, state and region.”

Stevenson, a 1985 Watertown High School graduate, holds a MS degree in Education from Southwest Minnesota State University; master degree coursework in Political Science from Fort Hayes State University and a BA degree in Political Science from the University of Minnesota. Stevenson stated,  “I look forward to coming ‘home to Watertown’ and being a member of the Lake Area Technical Institute team as we work together to enhance relationships and expand partnerships for the benefit of the students, the Institute and the overall workforce development of the region.”

Julie and her husband Eric, also a 1985 Watertown High School graduate, have two sons; Drew (Amie) of Portland, Oregon and Blake (Mackenzie) of Sioux Falls.

Comments Off
20 Jul 2015

LATI Named a “2015 Great College to Work For”

Author: Karen | Filed under: Uncategorized

Designation by The Chronicle of Higher Education Includes Honor Roll Status

Watertown, SD - 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. This is the seventh consecutive year Lake Area Tech has earned this designation. In addition, Lake Area Tech once again earned the distinction of being an Honor Roll school, a result of its high rankings in the categories surveyed.

The results, released today in The Chronicle’s eighth annual report on The Academic Workplace, are based on a survey of 281 colleges and universities. In all, only 86 of the 281 institutions achieved “Great College to Work For” recognition for specific best practices and policies. This includes 62 four-year institutions and 24 two-year institutions. Of those, 42 institutions attained Honor Roll status. Results are reported for small, medium, and large institutions, with Lake Area Tech included among the small universities (2,999 students or fewer) category.

Lake Area Tech won honors in four categories:

  • Collaborative Governance
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Respect & Appreciation
  • Teaching Environment

“This is a very satisfying affirmation of Lake Area Tech, but our real goal is not recognition – it’s being a community that values the needs and contributions of every individual working together towards our common goal of student success,” said Lake Area Tech Vice President Diane Stiles. “In that sense everyone at Lake Area Tech helps to make this a great place to work.”

The Chronicle is the nation’s most important source of news about colleges and universities. “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.

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. 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 Web site at

Comments Off

ALEXANDRIA, VA – The Foundation for Physical Therapy recognized Lake Area Technical Institute’s PTA Program with the Most Successful PTA Newcomer Award for the 2014-2015 Miami-Marquette Challenge.  This award is given to the PTA school who raises the most money out of other first-time participants.

The award recipients of the 2014-2015 Miami-Marquette Challenge were announced during the Foundation’s 2015 Gala at APTA’s NEXT Conference and Exposition in National Harbor, MD on June 4. Physical therapist and physical therapist assistant students from 146 schools across the country raised $275,423 to support physical therapy research.

The Challenge is the Foundation’s signature annual fundraising campaign and since its inception in 1989, 235 schools have participated in raising over $3 million for physical therapy research.

Since 2002, the Challenge has specifically funded more than 20 research grants and scholarships, and also partially funded the $300,000 Clagett Family Research Grant in 2010.  The Challenge also annually supports the rigorous scientific review process for all Foundation grants and scholarships.

The Foundation for Physical Therapy was established in 1979 as a national, independent nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality and delivery of physical therapy care by providing support for scientifically based and clinically relevant physical therapy research and doctoral scholarships and fellowships.

Comments Off
9 Jun 2015

Auto Program Receives National Accreditation

Author: Karen | Filed under: News Release

WATERTOWN, SD – The automotive training program at Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown has received accreditation by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) and The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). The program has been master certified since 2010 and recently completed the recertification process.  LATI’s automotive program was accredited in all eight areas of ASE in addition to the related math and science classes.

To achieve this coveted recognition, the school’s automotive training program underwent rigorous evaluation by NATEF. “The recertification process was completed over 16 months and involved working closely with our advisory board and NATEF to make certain our program met the strict industry standards,” LATI Automotive Technology Department Supervisor Brad Herding said.  “The process concluded with an onsite visit, which consisted of a NATEF representative and two other automotive technicians who assisted with the review process. We are now certified through 2020.”

Upon completion of the evaluation, NATEF recommended LATI be accredited by The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.

“This is great news for automotive-minded young people and their parents,” said Donald Seyfer, NATEF Chair. “Because this program increases cooperation between local education and industry leaders, it gives added assurance that Lake Area Tech’s graduates will be employable entry-level technicians. As a result of the quality education provided by Lake Area Tech, the motoring public will benefit since better repair technicians will join the work force.”

ASE is a national non-profit organization which tests and certifies repair technicians, in addition to accrediting automotive training programs.

Comments Off