Business expansion to benefit community and college students - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Business expansion to benefit community and college students

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A press conference was held on the University of South Dakota's campus to discuss the expansion of Eagle Creek Software Services into Vermillion. A press conference was held on the University of South Dakota's campus to discuss the expansion of Eagle Creek Software Services into Vermillion.

A big jobs announcement in Vermillion, South Dakota.  A company not only plans to hire hundreds, it's creating opportunities for college students.

"It's part of an overall plan of a thousand jobs in South Dakota," said Ken Behrendt, president of Eagle Creek Software Services.

Behrendt has teamed up with the state of South Dakota, the city of Vermillion, and the University of South Dakota to help create new opportunities and new jobs. The consulting company provides technological expertise to fortune 1500 companies. It has three centers in the Midwest and will soon build a fourth in Vermillion.

"These type of 200 jobs, over $40,000 a year in a community like Vermillion, it's going to be significant," said Steve Howe, Executive Director of the Vermillion Area Chamber and Development Company.

200 high paying jobs are planned for Vermillion, which will benefit the community and the university.

"We're not only helping Eagle Creek, but we're using those economic development dollars to help the University of South Dakota and the students who come here," said Dennis Daugaard, South Dakota Governor.

Eagle Creek and USD will partner to create the IT Consultant Academy, a program that provides undergraduate and post-graduate opportunities to prepare for jobs at Eagle Creek or similar companies.

"They know there's opportunities out there. You see a lot of people, a fair number students who are very good in technology but don't really have an avenue or vehicle to get in there, and I think this is a great place for them to get it," said Behrendt.

An announcement that hits home for Governor Daugaard, a USD alum.

"Every year, a crop of folks entering the job market, looking for that entry level job, hoping for admission to a company that offers exciting career opportunities, here's Eagle Creek and here they are right here in Vermillion," said Daugaard.

According to USD, the South Dakota Board of Regents plans to approve the certificate program at its April Board meeting and discussions between Eagle Creek and the Board of Regents continue about a customized master's degree.

Graduates of the certificate program can expect to make between $40,000-45,000.  Students with a master's may earn between $50,000-$60,000.

"The challenges of today's job market call for new skills and approaches," said James W. Abbott, president of the University of South Dakota.  "Our mission as a university should be to prepare students to succeed in an increasingly high-tech workforce.  We applaud and are proud to partner with Eagle Creek on this innovative project.  The Information Technology Consultant Academy will put students on a career path for success."

The company plans to break ground on the new technology center in Vermillion in the coming months.  It already had employees at a facility in Pierre.

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