Black Hills State University recently received a grant of $100,000 to work with industries to educate workers for “green jobs.” Participants who complete the specified BHSU courses will earn a Certificate in Energy Management. Tara Nelson is one of the students enrolled in BHSU’s industrial technology courses in Rapid City. BHSU also offers the advanced manufacturing courses at the RTEC building in Yankton.

Black Hills State University recently received a grant of $100,000 to work with industries to educate workers for “green jobs.”

Participants who complete the specified BHSU courses will earn a Certificate in Energy Management and be ready to lead changes to reduce energy costs and increase profits for businesses across the state. BHSU, which is taking the lead in sustainability, is relying on its established Industrial Technology and Manufacturing programs in Rapid City and Yankton to deliver these courses.

The innovative Energy Management program will educate workers in energy reduction technology and thereby increase the profitability of South Dakota businesses. The grant funds will be used to provide hands-on training in energy reduction and building automation control technology.

“The purpose of the grant is to teach workers the skills required in emerging energy efficiency and renewable energy industries,” said State Labor Secretary Pam Roberts. “Black Hills State University will focus on smart building technology and design and Lean manufacturing concepts. The green jobs training grant will increase the opportunities for unemployed and dislocated workers to move into high-wage and high-growth occupations.”

According to Tom Termes, chair of the Industrial Technology department at BHSU, energy management is a cost-reduction tool that is growing in importance for business and industry because of its direct impact on profitability, competitiveness, and growth.

“Employees who are skilled in energy management are not only tremendous assets to their companies, they also promote responsible stewardship of natural resources,” Termes says.

Termes explains that Energy Management Technicians identify energy waste within an industrial, commercial, or institutional facility and then use the latest in building automation control technology to reduce energy costs, striving for continuous, incremental improvement in energy efficiency.

“Energy consumption is a significant part of manufacturing operating costs and reducing energy costs will help industries develop work and create jobs in South Dakota,” Termes says.

This program is the latest in a growing number of collaborations in the Rapid City and Yankton areas which has created opportunities for employees and businesses. Termes says that the Regional Technical Education Center, Inc. (RTEC) in Yankton continues to work closely with BHSU and that RTEC has helped establish relationships with a wide range of Yankton area businesses and industries.

“BHSU is working with a fairly large number of organizations, including the local economic development organizations and the city of Yankton. We are doing the same thing in Rapid City, working with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED), the Black Hills Home Builders Association, and others. Working together we create a synergy which benefits all,” Termes says.

BHSU began offering the Advanced Manufacturing degree in Yankton two years ago to meet a growing need in the community. Termes explains that the program was located in Yankton because it is the base of a worldwide network of manufacturing companies.

Termes and Steve Wynia, assistant professor of industrial technology, will teach the courses in the BHSU Energy Management Technology Certificate program. The three courses in the certificate are as follows:

  • Smart Buildings – an introduction to building automation systems;
  • Smart Building Design – a course in which students design complex building automation systems, and;
  • Lean Concepts - an advanced course which allows students to study techniques such as waste reduction, flow improvement, value streaming, and continuous incremental improvement.

The management concepts learned in these three courses will integrate into the existing associate of science degree program in Advanced Manufacturing offered in both locations. Once developed, the certificate may also be offered in Sioux Falls, Aberdeen, and other industrial centers where private partners are interested in increasing energy efficiency. For details contact Termes at 605-490-1658.

The South Dakota Department of Labor, in partnership with the South Dakota Workforce Development Council, Tourism and State Development-Governor’s Office of Economic Development (TSD-GOED), South Dakota Department of Education, and the South Dakota Board of Regents, was recently awarded a three-year, $2.5M state energy sector partnership grant to address the state’s workforce training needs. BHSU received this subaward of $100,000 from the Department of Labor grant.