Rise of the Tech Grads - Southeast Technical Institute

Rise of the Tech Grads

Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Southeast Tech's Talent Marketplace Continues to be in High Demand

For nearly 50 years Southeast Tech has operated with one goal; to educate students with technical skills that are needed in South Dakota and the surrounding region. To encourage students to pursue a degree, diploma or certificate that will gain them rewarding employment while at the same time providing a valuable asset to the business that employs them. Now more than ever tech grads are in high-demand and the results prove it. 97% of Southeast Tech grads are employed within six months of graduation!

2017 Talent Preview

Not only are these graduates excelling at Southeast Tech, they've already landed new and exciting careers after graduation. We are proud to showcase their success!

Max Kruse
Hometown: Sioux Falls, SD
Major: Computer Programming
Job Title/Employer: Software Developer – Resident, MIDCO

ST: How has your experience been at Southeast Tech?

MK: “It has been overwhelmingly positive. I have knowledgeable teachers who are there immediately if I need help understanding something, or who I can just chat with. I’ve gained a lot of valuable on-the-job knowledge.”

ST: You received a Sponsor-A-Scholar scholarship, what does that entail?

MK: “I was very fortunate to receive this scholarship. It entails a number of things. Firstly, the scholarship came with a summer internship (Summer 2016). Secondly was $4,000 that goes a long way at covering costs. In agreement to accepting the scholarship money, I will work for MIDCO for a period of one year after graduation. I get to go into work every day and be challenged. Getting to create, and to problem solve is a very rewarding thing.”

ST: Do you feel your time at Southeast Tech has paid off?

MK: “Tremendously. Between the skills I’ve learned, the experience I’ve had, and already having a job lined up I couldn’t have asked for anything better.”

Victoria Krempges
Hometown: Salem, SD
Majors: Business Administration with Management Emphasis and Accounting
Job Title/Employer: Administrative Assistant, LA Amundson Investments

ST: What do you value the most about your education at Southeast Tech?

VK: “I’ve been challenged as an individual to think critically, improve my communication skills, and develop my understanding of the business world. The experiences the Southeast Tech staff are willing to share is amazing and beyond helpful, especially when trying to grasp concepts that aren’t used on a regular basis.”

ST: How did you choose your major?

VK: “My whole life I thought I knew what I wanted to do, but as I got closer to graduation I started to worry that it wasn’t for me. About every month after that I was thinking about a different major. By the time graduation had come I had chosen my two majors because of my passion for leadership, as well as the broadness and opportunities they hold for me.”

ST: What was the most important factor for you when you chose a college?

VK: “When I was looking at schools I first looked at tuition cost, then I looked at years of schooling to see when I could start my career. I also looked at class sizes because I wanted a comfortable learning environment and a smaller teacher to student ratio. The staff at Southeast Tech doesn’t just show up to teach a class and throw in the towel at the end of the day; they help guide you to complete your goals because they realize each student is there for a different reason.”

Dan Vos
Hometown: Brookings, SD
Major: HVAC/R
Job Title/Employer: HVAC Service/Installation Technician, Krier & Blain

ST: You took a non-traditional route to your degree, can you share why?

DV: “After finishing high school I studied Philosophy and graduated in 2011. In August of 2012, I began a Masters of Education in Student Affairs Administration. As I neared the end of the program, I recognized that this did not necessarily bring satisfaction. At that point, I chose to take a volunteer position for seven months working alongside Bolivian students. Work included, but was not limited to, construction, landscaping, terracing land, harvesting crops, installation of a community potable water system, repairing electrical and plumbing on campus, and various tasks involving livestock. I loved the work, I liked the place, but I missed home. I flew back to the states and started searching for any open student affairs jobs in the midwest that incorporated some of the job-related tasks I experienced in Bolivia. I was not successful. Following two months of unemployment, I saw an ad for the Build Dakota Scholarship offered at Southeast Tech. Some of the programs listed seemed to fit my newly discovered desire to do more ‘hands on’ work.”

ST: How has your experience been?

DV: “Fantastic. I started the program with a very limited technical/mechanical knowledge and almost zero field experience. Starting from square one has been a humbling experience. I cannot thank the instructors enough for their patience in the classroom, and guidance in the lab.”

ST: Would you recommend pursuing a tech degree to others?

DV: “With every appropriate opportunity, I strongly encourage others to explore what this trade and others have to offer. Since studying at Southeast Tech, I have watched three close friends of mine also pursue a technical degree in hopes of finding a sense of job satisfaction they previously were unable to find.”

Heather Hotchkin
Hometown: Harrisburg, SD
Major: Vascular Ultrasound Technology
Future Job Title/Employer: Vascular Sonographer, Sanford Health

ST: How did you choose your major?

HH: “I pursued a major in pharmacy for two years, finding out that it wasn’t a good fit for me. I grew up in Harrisburg so I knew about Southeast Tech and looked into the health programs that were available. I wanted to do something in the medical field that was non-invasive. I landed on ultrasound and vascular was the most interesting and appealing to me. I have loved it ever since!”

ST: How has your learning experience been at Southeast Tech?

HH: “I have learned so much in my time at Southeast Tech. Southeast Tech prepares you for real-life careers so that students are able to excel once they graduate.”

ST: What is your advice in choosing a college?

HH: “The most important thing to consider is finding a school that has a program that caters to your interests and receiving a quality education that goes along with it.”

Steven Williams
Hometown: Algona, IA
Majors: Architectural Engineering Technology and Construction Management Technology
Future Job Title/Employer: Architectural Drafter/Technician and Contract Administrative Technician, Kaas Wilson Architecture

ST: Why did you choose Southeast Tech?

SW: “My brother and I decided to come here for a fun weekend get-away Memorial Day weekend. When I learned about Southeast Tech’s Architectural Engineering Technology program, I applied immediately. In addition, the career placement rating was excellent.”

ST: What has been the best part of your experience in the classroom?

SW: “I was always anticipating having enough passion to succeed. While projects can be time-intensive, I enjoy most of the learning. My instructor provides experienced and knowledgeable instruction keeping learning enjoyable.”

ST: What inspired you to enter this field?

SW: “I found my passion with a mixture of art and geometry (my two favorite high school subjects) while living in a 1950’s addition to a Louis H. Sullivan bank registered in the National Register of Historic Places. I was inspired drawing floor plans for the restoration of an 1894 building located to the east across the street. It’s a way to do what you love and find a way to make money doing it!”

Danielle Huewe
Hometown: Bemidji, MN
Majors: Civil Engineering Technology and Land Surveying Technology
Job Title/Employer: Survey Technician, DGR Engineering

ST: What did you do before attending Southeast Tech?

DH: “I worked for a few years before attending college in Iowa and received my AAS in Heavy Equipment Operations and Maintenance. I then worked for a construction company checking grade, and managing a scraper crew before I decided I was more interested in the GPS applications. I then got a job with an engineering company and came to Southeast Tech.”

ST: Since you were already employed and had a degree, why did you choose to go back to school?

DH: “I chose Southeast Tech after hearing great reviews on the land surveying program and talking to a few past graduates. It just gives me a little more advantage in the future over my competitors. Both of these degrees will greatly help with the success of my career, allowing me to take my Fundamentals of Surveying exam, and then eventually become licensed.”

ST: What is the best part of what you do?

DH: “My favorite aspect of being a Survey Technician is that I get to be outside all the time, and always having changing projects. I also really enjoy construction staking, as it allows me to be part of road projects, which also relates to my heavy equipment degree. I do feel like I have learned a lot, and that I have benefitted from attending Southeast. I know that the Civil3D CAD operations I’ve been able to take into the office with me allowed more work for me over the winter.”

Nathaniel Barker
Hometown: Sioux Falls, SD
Major: Welding
Job Title/Employer: Welder, Kolberg-Pioneer, Inc.

ST: Why did you choose Southeast Tech?

NB: “I visited Southeast Tech’s welding program in high school and I enjoyed it very much. I wanted to go somewhere I would always be encouraged and pushed to keep succeeding. Southeast Tech has all of these qualities and more.”

ST: Do you feel your degree has helped give you more opportunities?

NB: “I barely graduated high school because I didn’t care about school and had a poor mind set. By coming to Southeast Tech it really changed how I look at life and how I hold myself. I was skeptical about going to college but I am very glad I did. It has helped me build my future and made me a better person. I currently work welding rafters and horse feeders, however, I’ve accepted a more appealing welding job for more pay by Kolberg Pioneer, they are an amazing company!”

Tanner Peterson
Hometown: Remsen, IA
Major: Welding
Job Title/Employer: Welder, Kolberg-Pioneer, Inc.

ST: Why did you choose welding as your career?

TP: “My father was a welder and just the skill needed for this dying trade was motivation. I love working with my hands and love hard work and I knew there was good money involved if you were a good welder.”

ST: What has been a good by-product of your experience at Southeast Tech?

TP: “I’ve learned a lot and met my best friends through Southeast Tech. I’ve had countless opportunities and I’ve received the Build Dakota Scholarship which paid for my education.”

Carter Fellows
Hometown: Truman, MN
Major: Welding
Job Title/Employer: Welder, Kolberg-Pioneer, Inc.

ST: Do you believe your instructors are committed to their students?

CF: “I’d heard a lot of good things about them and it was true. The teachers are very passionate about what they teach. They care that you pass your classes and that you excel in your area of study.”

ST: Who should pursue welding?

CF: “You should only get into it if you have what it takes. This is a challenging field to work in; you’ll get burned, you’ll get very dirty, you’ll work in hot environments and you’re working your butt off every day. I love it.”

Elisabeth Swenson
Hometown: Pipestone, MN
Major: Medical Coding
Job Title/Employer: Out Patient Medical Coder, DT-Track

ST: Did you choose to come to Southeast Tech directly from high school?

ES: “Yes! I knew going to school for years wasn’t what I wanted to do so I looked into Southeast Tech programs. My sister-in-law was in the program before me and had nothing but great things to say about the program and teachers and I benefit from small class environments. If I’m paying for something I want the best of the best and to know I’m going to get the right knowledge!

ST: Why did you choose Medical Coding?

ES: “I thought it was a good fit because I didn’t think working directly with patients was my thing but I wanted to feel I was contributing in the medical field. I also chose this path because I knew the job outlook was good. I also did my research on coding and talked to someone who is already a coder to understand what I would be doing and what a normal day looks like. I fell in love with the flexible schedule of a medical coder and the possibility of being able to work from home which is what I’ll be doing!”

ST: Have you had a good experience?

ES: “I have enjoyed how willing all the teachers are to help when you don’t understand something. They love questions and encourage you to be active in the classrooms. The teachers here care about your attendance and that you are learning what you need to know. Also, the fact that it is hands-on prepares you for your career so you know what you’re doing right when you graduate.”

Erica Swenson
Hometown: Pipestone, MN
Major: Medical Coding
Job Title/Employer: Out Patient Medical Coder, DT-Track

ST: What do you like most about Southeast Tech’s learning environment?

ES: “I couldn’t imagine myself at any other school! Southeast Tech has changed my life forever. The instructors here are very happy to be here and the class sizes are small, making it much easier to pay attention and participate. Instructors are always there to help and there is a lot of hands-on lab time to ask questions which makes me feel like I got the most out of my education.”

ST: Do you feel attending Southeast Tech has paid off for you?

ES: “I showed up every day for class, I asked questions and Southeast Tech got me a job before I even graduated so how could I say no! I feel that I’ve learned all the skills I need in order to succeed in my career.”

ST: Would you recommend entering Medical Coding?

ES: “Yes! I actually already have multiple times. I have a few friends considering medical coding right now as they fell in love with the benefits and how it’s such a growing field. Most people think it’s a lot of computer stuff until they learn about what you actually do. I would encourage anyone to go into this program. Time flies so fast and you will have your degree before you even know it, and then you’re just that much closer to what I’ve always wanted which is to wake up every day and have a job I love. Of course, knowing that I have a steady income and benefits makes every hour spent studying toward my degree worth every penny!”

Check out more student and alumni testimonials here!

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