Whitewood will be home to WDT’s satellite campus in 2021
Whitewood has unofficially been known as a "bedroom community" for Spearfish and Sturgis, the town is wanting to flip the narrative, and the first step is to attract people by stepping up commerce. Welcoming WDT is just one in many steps toward the future.
The town sign says 844, but the population of Whitewood is growing to unofficially over 1,000.
The Whitewood Economic Development Organization or WEDO is working on developing the community while keeping the high quality of life- they are doing that by looking toward the future by enriching the town with affordable housing, sustainable businesses and economic growth.
Robert Hill, the Exec. Dir. of WEDO, says, “Bringing the right industries into this town- being able to kind of cultivate the growth because where we sit on I-90 a boom is kind of inevitable but being able to cultivate that expansion is kind of exciting.”
WEDO received strong support from the city, county and state along with private entities, organizations and individuals.
WDT’s partnership with the WEDO, the Gov. office of economic development and the Lawrence County Commission (along with many other local organizations and individuals) made it all happen in a smooth fashion.
Hills says, “We hope to make WDT kind of the center of a new business ecosystem in Whitewood.”
WEDO is planning to renovate this building to host a satellite campus for Western Dakota Tech’s Licensed Practical Nursing (or LPN) program with intentions of expanded educational services in the future.
“We went in knowing that they were looking to locate in the Northern Hills, knowing that they were looking to expand to a satellite campus and get their footprint out here in the Northern Hills, ” says Hill.
WDT plans to offer their licensed practical nurse (LPN) program in Whitewood Spring Semester 2021, which will initially serve 16 students with two to three instructors. Their intentions are to fill the much needed shortage in essential health care workers. The LPN program good steppingstone for a continuing career in the heath care field.
Dr. Anne Bolman, President of WDT, says, “We want all of our LPN graduates to stay here because there are plenty of jobs in our region for them. We know we have to figure out ways to overcome distance especially for adult learners so they we can help them get into the career openings that are here.”
The fine print is still being finalized and formal action will take place at the next commission meeting on July 14th.