Learn and Earn

August 11, 2021 // Community Innovation Grants

The value of an educated, available workforce cannot be overstated.

Fredel Thomas, DWU Vice President of Admissions and Marketing
Pictured L to R: Fredel Thomas, VP, Admissions and Marketing, DWU; Ginger Niemann, Senior Program Officer, SDCF and Jessica Carr, Learn & Earn Pierre Site Coordinator

Dakota Wesleyan University (DWU) partnered with the Pierre Economic Development Corporation, the Capital City Campus, BankWest and others to develop the Learn and Earn program. The Learn and Earn program allows students to experience a hands-on-real-world simulation of the job place. It offers a defined path to completion of professional credentials, an associate or bachelor’s degree. After the first four months, students work in their paid internships two days a week, while earning professional credentials. After eight months, the internship increases to three days a week with students spending two days at Capital City Campus. This entire program can be accomplished in 16 months. Students are provided a laptop to use at work and on campus while enrolled in the program.

“Everyone is struggling to find well trained workers to fill vacancies”, said Ginger Niemann, SDCF Senior Program Officer. “This program offers one solution that is a win-win for both employers and people who welcome relevant, on-site training and education. The SDCF was proud to award Dakota Wesleyan University with a $12,000 Community Innovation Grant to support this effort”.

Community Innovation Grants are offered in partnership with the Bush Foundation and focus specifically on supporting community problem-solving projects. Sixty-three applications were submitted in Round 1 and fourteen resulted in securing funding.

“The value of an educated, available workforce cannot be overstated. The need for on-site college programming has been evident in Pierre for many years”, said Fredel Thomas, DWU Vice-President of Admissions and Marketing. “DWU and its partners are committed through the Learn and Earn program to serve students and businesses and industries into the future. By providing a laptop as part of enrollment in the program, a significant cost burden will have been removed from the student, one more possible barrier to success. Many thanks to the South Dakota Community Foundation for their support”.

Round 2, 2021 of the Community Innovation Grants application process closed July 30, 2021. To learn more about funding opportunities offered by the SDCF, please visit our website at https://www.sdcommunityfoundation.org/ .

About the SDCF

SDCF is a public non-profit organization established in 1987. SDCF, with offices in Pierre, Rapid City, Sioux Falls and Aberdeen administers over 1050 funds benefiting hundreds of charitable organizations annually. The Foundation distributed nearly $18 million in grants in 2020 which made a tremendous difference in communities statewide. This would not have been possible without the generosity of our donors. If you have a specific cause you would like to support or would prefer to give for the general good of our state, please visit https://sdcommunityfoundation.org/giving to learn more or call 1-800-888-1842.

About the Bush Foundation

The Bush Foundation invests in great ideas and the people who power them. Established in 1953 by 3M Executive Archibald Bush and his wife Edyth, the Foundation encourages individuals and organizations to think bigger and think differently about what is possible in communities across Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the same geographic area.