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Noem Signs Technical School Name Change Bill

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) – South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has signed a bill changing the names of the states’s two-year postsecondary schools from technical institutes to technical colleges to better align them with similar schools around the nation.

The name change goes into effect on July 1st for Western Dakota Tech in Rapid City, Lake Area Tech in Watertown, Mitchell Tech, and Southeast Tech in Sioux Falls.

The new name of technical college is seen as an era-appropriate title for such 2-year colleges and a way to eliminate possible confusion with the term “institute,” often seen as low-caliber for-profit operations.

Noem says “South Dakota’s technical schools produce top-quality graduates for the state’s workforce and help ensure businesses have the leaders they need to thrive,” adding that the name change reflects the excellence they demonstrate.

Western Dakota Tech president Ann Bolman says the school’s mission won’t change with the new name, which she hopes will be more clear about the programs offered by technical colleges.

Bolman says “college really means, for most people these days, something that is open to everybody,” and she hopes the name change “makes sure everybody is aware the technical colleges in South Dakota are open admission.”