Tonight, the Pierre City Commission approved a plan to help build a pipeline of new employees for the community.
The partnership, an extension of the State’s Build Dakota Scholarship program, brings the City, Pierre Economic Development Corp. (PEDCO), and local businesses together to provide scholarships for students who agree to work in high-demand careers in Pierre.
Through the Build Dakota program, a qualifying student receives a full-ride scholarship for a one or two-year degree from an in-state technical institute; fifty-percent is paid by the Build Dakota program, and the other half is paid by the business the student will work for upon graduation. Through this new industry match grant partnership, the City will pick up a piece of the cost.
“We have local businesses that would like to participate in the program but don’t necessarily have the funding to pay for half of that full-ride scholarship,” said Pierre Mayor Steve Harding. “Partnering employers will now have the ability to split the cost of their share of the scholarship with the City and PEDCO.”
Under the industry match grant partnership, the City would pay for one-eighth of the total scholarship, as would PEDCO. The partnering employer would pay for one-fourth, and Build Dakota would still pay for one-half.
“This is one way the City can help with our local workforce shortage,” said Mayor Harding. “We want our business community to thrive –they need an ample workforce to do that.”
Harding went on to say that he’s hopeful this program will be a successful recruitment tool to bring young professionals to Pierre.
Pending a signed agreement with PEDCO, the City’s commitment to the program is $55,000 over a 5-year period. That’s enough funding to support at least 20 two-year degrees from an in-state technical institute. The program will sunset in five years or when the funding is expended, whichever comes first.
PEDCO will administer program. To participate in the industry match grant, businesses must be PEDCO members. Pierre is only the third community in the state to offer industry match grants of this nature.