U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today introduced Lake Area Technical Institute President Michael Cartney at a Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation hearing entitled, “Closing the Skills Gap and Boosting U.S. Competitiveness.” Cartney, a retired U.S. Air Force Colonel, testified in front of the committee on the skills and career opportunities that can be gained at technical schools like Lake Area Technical Institute, which just received the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.
During the hearing, Thune questioned Cartney on the impact that new technology has on the skills gap and how Lake Area Technical Institute is working to prepare students for entering the workplace. Prior to questioning Cartney, Thune questioned “Cheers” actor and mechanical skills advocate, John Ratzenburger, on why it’s important to expose young people to hands-on learning.“It is no surprise to me that a South Dakota technical institute, the Lake Area Technical Institute, is leading the pack in training students to fill these skilled jobs,” said Thune. “Lake Area Tech is the winner of the 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence – the nation’s foremost recognition for high achievement and improvement in America’s community colleges. An overwhelming 99 percent of Lake Area Tech’s graduates are employed after graduation. Once they enter the workforce, these graduates earn an average of 27 percent more than other new hires in the region. It is wonderful to see the work that Lake Area Tech and other community colleges and career and technical education programs are doing to train students for jobs that are available and lucrative.”