CHRISTINE GOLDSMITH: Dakota Seeds invests in state’s future

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Internships and assistantships can be a great way for businesses to fill temporary workforce needs and establish a pipeline for permanent employees. The Dakota Seeds Program was established a few years ago to provide resources and
invest in the future workforce for science and technology related industries. Through Dakota Seeds, the state of South Dakota provides a grant to the small business that will cover up to one-half of the intern’s wages. Maximum amounts are $2,000 for college undergraduate or graduate students, $8,000 for master degree students, and $10,000 annually for Ph.D. students.

A central website lists internships and assistantship opportunities available to students (www.dakotaseeds.com), and provides business owners with information about those interested in internships from the various technical institutes, colleges and universities. Internships are designed to be shortterm positions, typically lasting for the summer or semester, regardless
of the education level of the student. Assistantships are long-term during the graduate student’s course of study.

Each business can have no more than five intern positions each year, depending on the demand for funding. In order to apply, the following requirements must be met:

• Positions must have a link to science, technology (computer science), engineering or mathematics. This may be accomplished through the nature of the business, the project or the position.

• Positions must be newly created, with plans to continue the position in the future.

• Positions must provide a meaningful work experience for the student.

• Companies must demonstrate how the funding will help meet a critical workforce need or help the company grow.

• For internship positions, students must be currently enrolled at an institution of higher learning or have graduated in the semester immediately preceding the start of the internship.

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