WATCH LIVESTREAMS of Gov. Daugaard’s Workforce Development Initiative workshop in South Dakota

South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard and Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta delivered keynotes at the first workshop of the Western Governors’ Workforce Development Initiative on Aug. 3 in Sioux Falls.

The central policy initiative of Governor Daugaard’s term as WGA Chair is designed to leverage the region’s best thinking to bridge the gap between prospective workers and employers in the West. The goal will be to create enhanced career opportunities for students, graduates and displaced workers to help build a more vibrant regional economy. 


Following are links to videos of the workshop keynotes and panels.

Keynote, South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard: WGA Executive Director James D. Ogsbury framed the work of the Initiative and introduced Gov. Daugaard, who discussed the urgency to improve job skills training. 

Roundtable I: Aligning State Resources: Examined how states identify overall training needs and strategically deploy resources to meet them. Moderator: Matt Jordan, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Education Commission of the States; Erik Rose, Director of Workforce Initiatives and Information, Montana University System; Stephanie Veck, Director, Colorado Workforce Development Council; Wendi Secrist, Director of Business Outreach, Idaho Career and Technical Education; Bryan Wilson, State Policy Director, National Skills Coalition.

Roundtable II: Industry Leadership in Career Training: How employers are closing the skills gap in their industries through collaboration with training and educational institutions to establish new training programs. Moderator: Michael Cartney, President, Lake Area Technical Institute. Bruce Emmil, Dean of National Energy Center of Excellence, Bismarck State College; Todd Anawski, Government Affairs & Education Director, Home Builders Association of the Sioux Empire; Paul Harter, CEO, Aqua-Hot Heating Systems; Angelique Pruitt, Regional Manager, Idaho Power Company.

Case Studies: Attracting and Retaining Western Talent: Representatives from states in the region will discuss best practices for retaining talent in-state and attracting out-of-state job seekers. Tobi Cates, Wyoming Department of Workforce Services; Wayde Sick, Director of Workforce, North Dakota Department of Commerce; Diana VanderWoude, Vice President of the Build Dakota Scholarship Board.

Keynote, Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta: The Secretary of Labor addressed the administration's approach to working with the states and discussed issues such as business licensing.

Roundtable IV: Career Preparation in Education: Educational experts examine what is being done to provide relevant and valuable career preparation, ensuring that students pursue pathways to in-demand, well-paying jobs. Moderator: Bill Symonds, Director, Global Pathways Institute, Arizona State University; Barry Dunn, President, South Dakota State University; Rich Feller, Professor Emeritus, Colorado State University; Tiffany Sanderson, Director, Division of Career & Technical Education, South Dakota Department of Education; Cheri Tune, Regional Manager, ACT Work Ready Communities.

Presentation – Jobs for America’s Graduates: Laurie Phelan, President/CEO of Iowa JAG and Kim Claussen, Chief State Affiliate of JAG South Dakota will discuss Jobs for America’s Graduates, a state-based national non-profit organization dedicated to preventing dropouts among young people who are most at-risk.  

Looking Around the Curve and Closing Remarks: A discussion among CEOs from South Dakota businesses on how career training must evolve to take advantage of changes in technology and western economies. Moderator: John Schnur, Executive Director, America Achieves; Larry Thompson, CEO, Vantage Point Solutions; Jim Scull, CEO, Scull Construction; Tim Rogelstad, President, Otter Tail Power Company.

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