Lake Area Technical Institute
LATI Student Center entrance, May 2017
|Motto||"It's Your World"|
|President||Col. Michael Cartney (USAF, Ret.)|
|Location||Watertown, South Dakota|
Lake Area Technical Institute is a technical school located in Watertown, South Dakota. The campus covers 40 acres and serves an area of 18,000 square miles. Founded in 1965, Lake Area Tech was the first technical school to be established in South Dakota, followed by schools in Mitchell, Sioux Falls and Rapid City.
Lake Area Technical Institute is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.
Due to the increasing number of students, the school began a four-phase campus expansion project in the fall of 2008. The project included a new Diesel, Energy, and Welding facility, a new Automotive and Health Science Facility, a centralized Student Center, and a new Agriculture facility. The school has developed new programs including High Performance Engine Machining, Heavy Equipment Operator, and Law Enforcement.
Lake Area Tech has 29 programs, 12 e-degrees and serves more than 2,500 full-time, part-time and online students enrolled in the previous school year. Some of the school's longstanding programs include Agriculture, Welding, Cosmetology, Diesel, Aviation Maintenance, and Nursing. The school has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio and a 99% graduate placement rate.
Lake Area Tech's programs rely on advisory boards of industry owners and professionals, who also supply training equipment and internships. For example, Diesel, Auto, HPEM, and Agriculture students have access to a truck chassis dynamometer for hands-on training. LATI also has a cadaver lab. Examples of LATI business partners include Butler CAT Corporation, Prairie Lakes Health Care System, Titan Machinery, South Dakota Wheatgrowers, Cenex/Harvest States, Building Products Inc, Missouri River Energy, Ottertail Power, Watertown Municipal Utilities, Valley Queen Cheese, Horton Manufacturing, First Bank and Trust, and the Watertown Community Foundation.
In March 2017, Lake Area Tech was named the winner of the 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, following three previous Finalist-With-Distinction honors in 2011, 2013, and 2015. The Prize was awarded by the Aspen Institute in March 2017 in Washington, D.C. following an intense data collection process by Aspen officials that included a rigorous review of critical elements of student success including learning, completion, and employment after college.
According to Aspen's research, LATI has one of the best graduation rates in America. The school has also been applauded for providing degrees that lead directly to employment. "From the moment students enroll, Lake Area Technical Institute (LATI) is structured so that students have a great chance of both completing their degrees and gaining the hands-on skills needed to land a good job,” said Josh Wyner, Executive Director of the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program. “With clear, rigorous programs aligned to available jobs, LATI shows the way to not just high graduation rates, but degrees with high value for both students and employers alike.”
In addition to Aspen, LATI has been recognized as a Military Friendly School, a member of the President's Community Service Honor Roll with distinction, and a top Digital Community College.
- "President Obama to deliver 2015 commencement speech at Lake Area Tech". KSFY. April 13, 2015. Retrieved April 14, 2015.