U.S. Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) today highlighted the importance of technical education and training as he met with students, administrators, city officials and Yankton-area manufacturers at the Regional Technical Education Center (RTEC). Johnson discussed the positive impact the program has on the city's workforce and on South Dakota's economy and toured the center. The center received a $90,000 grant for new equipment from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which Johnson supported.
"RTEC is strengthening Yankton's workforce and giving area students the skills they need to compete for good-paying jobs," said Johnson. "A skilled workforce is critical for our state, and the people being trained at RTEC are filling important jobs in technical fields."
Joining Johnson at RTEC were Josh Svatos, General Manager, RTEC; Dr. Wayne Kindle, Principal, Yankton High School; Tom Bohnet, President, Applied Engineering, Inc.; Joe Vig, President, Kolberg-Pioneer, Inc.; Mike Dellinger, Executive Director, Yankton Office of Economic Development and several Yankton High School (YHS) students who have received the BAMAAR award. The BAMAAR award, named after its sponsors, the building association, manufacturers association, and area retailers, is given to YHS students who display exemplary work in their career and technical education classes. This award is given to students on a monthly basis and each spring one or more of those students is named the BAMAAR Student(s) of the Year.
"While I'm relieved we reached a compromise to avoid the fiscal cliff, it's clear that difficult decisions remain concerning funding levels for federal programs. We need to make cuts, but we need to do so with a scalpel instead of an axe. I will continue to support career and technical education because it helps align the labor market with our economy's workforce demands. Programs like RTEC will provide South Dakota's economy with skilled workers for years to come," Johnson continued.
RTEC was founded in 2004. The program provides quality, affordable, and convenient technical education for workers in the Yankton community. Since its creation, RTEC has trained close to 2,300 students for careers in technical fields, including welding, maintenance technology and manufacturing.
Johnson has continually reached out to South Dakota students and educators as he works to make higher education and career and technical education more accessible and affordable. As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Johnson has been a strong supporter of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education program, workforce investment programs and Pell Grants and other forms of federal student aid. Last spring, he wrote to the Obama Administration in support of these programs.