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For Immediate Release: July 16, 2012
Contact: Mary Stadick Smith - (605) 773-7228

Board approves new program option for Lake Area Tech

The South Dakota Board of Education has approved the addition of an Emergency Medical Specialist option for second-year Medical/Fire Rescue students at Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown.

The option will be nine months in length, resulting in an Associate of Applied Science degree. Graduates will be nationally certified as paramedics with additional training in medical coding, insurance/payment, and computerized medical office procedures.

According to LATI President Deb Shephard, LATI is an excellent fit for the new option because the school already has very strong Medical/Fire Rescue and Medical Assistant programs. Since the resources are shared between the two programs, there will be no additional cost to add the new option.

“In many of the more rural areas of the state, first responders are asked to know and do so much more today with medical data entry,” Shephard said. “This option will prepare students to really hit the ground running and excel in their careers right away.”

The program option will begin this fall, providing a quick response to industry demand. As part of his South Dakota Workforce Initiatives (SD WINS), Gov. Dennis Daugaard included rural health as a priority area for recruiting new skilled workers.

SD WINS is a 20-point plan to address short- and long-term workforce needs. The Governor’s initiative is a collaborative effort of business, education, health and labor leaders to create a well-trained and well-educated workforce for the job market of today and tomorrow.