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New Program Developed to Recruit IT Professionals

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

PIERRE, S.D. – Applications for a new summer program in information technology (IT) are now being accepted.

Developed by the South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED), the South Dakota Board of Regents and several public universities across the state, the Information Technology Consultant Academy Summer Institute is an innovative learning program aimed at providing individuals with the IT skillset employers are seeking. 

“Preparing our young people to enter the 21st century workforce is extremely important,” said Gov. Dennis Daugaard. “The newly established Information Technology Consultant Academy Summer Institute will not only educate students, but expose them to information on career paths and job opportunities they may not otherwise hear much about.”

South Dakota’s IT industry is projected to grow to 15,887 jobs by 2016. This is an increase of more than 3,500 jobs from 2012. These are high-skill jobs, with most employers looking for applicants with at least a basic IT foundation to build on. The average salary in the IT industry is around $56,000.

The summer institute consists of a four undergraduate course curriculum established in conjunction with the IT industry. Upon completion, participants earn an IT consultant certificate. This certificate provides employers with a reassurance that the individual has obtained the skillset necessary to succeed in the IT industry. The program is available to current university and tech school students as well as others with an aptitude for IT and a desire to pursue a career in the IT field. Standard and fast track options are currently available to participants, with both tracks being offered this summer during a 12-week time frame. Courses will be offered online and taught by faculty chosen by the partnering institutions, which include:

  • Black Hills State University
  • Dakota State University
  • Northern State University
  • South Dakota State University
  • University of South Dakota
  • Capital University Center, Pierre
  • University Center, Rapid City
  • University Center, Sioux Falls

All credits awarded during the summer institute will count toward the student’s degree program, keeping the student on track for graduation and ready to enter the workforce.

“South Dakota companies need trained IT professionals and that’s exactly what the summer institute intends to produce,” said Mel Ustad, director of commercialization at the GOED and contributor to the new summer institute. “Students are able to earn all 12 credits at a discounted rate of $40 per credit hour, saving them more than $3,000 on tuition costs. You just can’t get that kind of quality education for that price anywhere else.”

The summer institute is now accepting applications for this summer. To apply or learn more, visit or contact Ben Krush, program manager, at 605.677.5949 or

Media Contact

Members of the media requesting more information should contact Natalie Likness at or (605) 773-3301.