What once started out as a simple idea quickly turned into a reality. Dream it. Do it. South Dakota was born in 2015 with the sole purpose of helping students understand the manufacturing field better.

The first initiative South Dakota Manufacturing & Technology Solutions wanted to implement was the What’s So Cool About Manufacturing (WSCM) Video Contest, a widely successful career awareness program already established in Pennsylvania. With the help of an amazing Pennsylvania project manager, South Dakota quickly learned the basics of running the contest and recruited 10 schools around the Sioux Falls area to participate.

The first WSCM contest brought both excitement and success. Survey results from the contest showed students were learning more about manufacturing and even considering careers in the industry. Parents appreciated the opportunity their kids got to explore different careers and learn about the different wages, education and skill levels involved. We were encouraged and ecstatic with the response we were receiving.

Fast forward to today, we have completed our second contest with 17 teams and five overall winners. We have revised the contest timeline and equipment provided to remove any unnecessary hurdles for schools. Our second year was full of high quality videos, new teams and manufacturers, and valuable insight on manufacturing careers.

As the contest continues to grow and impact students, we want to offer fun opportunities for people to support new schools entering the contest. To fund this contest, we host three golf tournaments throughout the summer: one in Sioux Falls, Aberdeen and Watertown. Companies can enjoy the tournament by competing in a fun four-person scramble or by sponsoring a hole.  It’s a great way to bond with coworkers and support a great cause. We figure summer days in South Dakota are supposed to be spent outside, so what better way to enjoy an sunny afternoon than on the golf course?

In the future, we want to continue to build off the contest and also offer manufacturing experiences to high school students.  We have big ideas for Manufacturing Day (the first Friday in October) and want to continue to expose students to the opportunities manufacturing provides people. We want students to be well-informed to make smart career decisions. It’s important we continue reaching students in a fun and interactive way to broaden their career awareness and the possibilities they can imagine. 

Please consider participating in one of our golf tournaments or donating to the cause.  It’s a privilege to teach students about careers in manufacturing and show them the cutting edge technology, good salaries and safe workplaces in South Dakota. We want to continue to be a platform for manufacturers to showcase their fulfilling careers. Let’s continue to engage, educate, and inspire the next generation!