Mines News

Release Date Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Mines Career Fair Proves Key for South Dakota’s Economy

Mines’ Career Fairs attract employers from locally grown companies like RESPEC to multinational Fortune 500 firms like Caterpillar. Both of these companies hire Mines graduates who stay in the Black Hills and contribute directly to the area’s economy

South Dakota Mines is smallest of the state’s public universities by student headcount, but Mines repeatedly hosts some of the biggest career fairs that include employers ranging from local engineering start-ups to Fortune 500 companies.

This past fall, 177 employers and vendors attended Mines in-person and virtual career fairs. The long list of impressive employers in regular attendance includes 3M, Caterpillar, Cargill, Freeport-McMoRan, Garmin, Kiewit, Nucor, RESPEC, Daktronics, VRC Metal Systems, Raven, and POET, to name just a few. Mines also has alumni at major high-tech companies and organizations that are household names, such as NASA, SpaceX, Microsoft, Google, and many others. Employers rave about Mines graduates; see this video to hear more from them.

Mines students benefit greatly from the career fairs. A total of 79% of the 2020 graduates accepted offers with a company that recruited them on campus. Mines students also benefit from internships offered by employers at these fairs; 77% completing a paid internship or co-op with a company related to their field of study and 100% of the students who undertook internships in 2020 landed full-time employment after graduation, earning a starting salary 24% higher than those who did not complete an internship.

It’s true that the reputation of South Dakota Mines gives students amazing options when they finish school. It’s also true that over the decades, an increasing number of Mines graduates are able to choose to stay in the state and work for the growing high-tech industry. This year, 45 South Dakota companies attended the career fairs with 18 from the Black Hills area.

Mines is also actively working to expand opportunities for students to stay in the state after they graduate. The university contributes to job growth in the state’s high-tech industry in three major ways:

Research that Spawns Spinoffs

University research ties directly to local economic development and Mines is a powerhouse of innovation in South Dakota. In 2021, Mines faculty filed more invention disclosures than any other state university. Mines researchers have landed more than $63 million in research funding over the past four years from organizations like the Department of Defense and the National Science Foundation. Mines has a track record of turning research on campus into local start-up companies like VRC Metal Systems, Nanopareil and Endlas, which in turn are creating local high-paying jobs.

Mines Alumni Lead the Way

Mines alumni are also key players in driving high-tech economic development in the state. The university boasts a long list of South Dakota based companies started by alumni like Daktronics, C-Lock, DARCEO, Phase Technologies, Property Meld, RESPEC, RPM & Associates, VRC Metal Systems, and many more. These alumni-started businesses have created hundreds of high-paying science and engineering jobs in the state. The university’s Office of Industry Engagement also works closely with Elevate Rapid City to continue to recruit new employers to the area. Finally, the university taps the incredible potential of its alumni base with the Entrepreneur in Residence Program that pairs seasoned STEM professionals with emerging businesses and start-ups.

Major Companies in South Dakota Rely on Mines’ Talent Pipeline

Mines is also key in supporting the growth of major companies that choose to locate in the state. The university works closely with Ascent Innovation to support employers need for a talent pipeline of well-trained scientists and engineers. Mines graduates provide the backbone of talent for a range of companies with South Dakota offices such as AEsir, B9Creations, Banner Associates, Black Hills Info Sec., Caterpillar, IMP, POET, Raven, Vishay, and many more. These companies all regularly recruit at Mines career fairs, and their combined economic impact on the state is measured in the millions.



About South Dakota Mines  

Founded in 1885, South Dakota Mines is one of the nation’s leading engineering, science and technology universities. South Dakota Mines offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees and a best-in-class education at an affordable price. The university enrolls 2,493 students with an average class size of 24. The South Dakota Mines placement rate for graduates is 98 percent, with an average starting salary of more than $70,036. For these reasons  South Dakota Mines is ranked among the best engineering schools in the country for return on investment. Find us online at www.sdsmt.edu and on FacebookTwitter, LinkedInInstagram, and Snapchat.

Contact: Mike Ray, 605-394-6082, mike.ray@sdsmt.edu

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