U.S. Senator touts importance of technical training - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

U.S. Senator touts importance of technical training

Sen. Tim Johnson (D) South Dakota tour the Regional Technical Education Center in Yankton, South Dakota. Sen. Tim Johnson (D) South Dakota tour the Regional Technical Education Center in Yankton, South Dakota.

Technical degrees can be just as valuable as a four year college degree.

That's what US Senator Tim Johnson of South Dakota told folks at the Regional Technical Education Center in Yankton Monday.

"I'm impressed with RTEC, and there's a very real need for RTEC and there's a real need for the students graduating from RTEC," Sen. Johnson said.

The democrat has helped the center get a $90,000 federal grant, as part of his efforts to push for more educational funding in technical fields.

A former RTEC graduate says he knew early in high school technical training was far more valuable to him, then a 4 year degree. 

"You're not just some guy in here getting dirty and going home grungy at the end of the day, you're actually in here using your mind," Rory Hamilton said.

Hamilton works as a machinist at Applied Engineering, a company in Yankton that makes components used in airplanes and other aerospace designs.

"For being in the Midwest, the pay the benefits, everything is just phenomenal.  Personally, I couldn't go anywhere else and do any better," Hamilton said.

He graduated from the Regional Tech Educational Center more than a decade ago.  Looking back, he says his decision to choose technical training over a 4 year university was easy.

"You get so much more for your money than in the two years as oppose to a four year program."

While it can cost less to go to technical college, Josh Svatos with RTEC says it's not all about saving money.

"You really can't price that type of education and the other thing you need is to look at the job statistics that are out there, and look at the highly skilled qualifications that these individuals need," Svatos said.

Rick Duimstra with Applied Engineering says the need for better fuel efficiency in aerospace has spurred growth in his industry. But what's not growing as fast is the field of experienced workers, especially in the Midwest.  That's why he says technical schools make a difference.

"It's a global marketplace we're dealing with.  We have got competitors globally so we constantly we have to upgrade the skills of our employees," Duimstra said.

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