Reprinted courtesy of Deb Holland Meade County Time-Tribune
STURGIS (3/9/2015) Monday’s groundbreaking for a business incubator building in Sturgis is the spark that will ignite numerous training opportunities for prospective employees who will fill the needs of Sturgis businesses, one business owner said.
Irv Stone, owner of Bar Sto Precision, said Sturgis is fortunate to have the new 5,110-square-foot building as a place not only for start-up companies interested in moving to Sturgis, but also for its potential to train machinists who are in high demand.
The new facility, scheduled to be completed by the fall, is at the entrance to the Sturgis Industrial Park west of Sturgis on the Whitewood Service Road. It will accommodate up to four businesses and will house Sturgis Brown High School’s new CTE machinist program. The initials CTE stand for career and technical education.
“It’s awesome to know that the training is going on right here, and they can come over and see what we do,” Stone said. “We’re creating our next group of employees. You can’t beat that.”
The students will get a well-rounded education with the addition of the new building.
“They will get the basics, but they are also going to get the ‘real world’ training,” Stone said. “You can’t put a price on what they are going to get.”
Rangel Construction is the general contractor of the building that is being paid for through federal and state grants, as well as matching funds. A $99,999 USDA Rural Development match grant was awarded to Sturgis Economic Development Corporation for the project. Additionally, two future fund grants totaling $187,967 were awarded by Gov. Dennis Daugaard to the Meade School District and SEDC.
“This wouldn’t have happened without everybody’s participation,” said Pat Kurtenbach, SEDC President. Kurtenbach says it’s exciting to finally break ground for the building. “It’s been a dream of ours for many years to get this up and constructed,” she said.
About 1,800 square feet of the building will be for the CTE classroom and hands-on lab.
“This project is helping to not only develop commercial and industrial growth, but ultimately it’s investing in the future — our future workforce,” Kurtenbach said.
Because metal fabrication, welding and other metal-related manufacturing are key economic drivers for the Meade County economy, Kurtenbach said the new CTE program will have a profound impact on the local economy.
“We just want to be able to grow our own” machinists, Kurtenbach said.
Another key factor is that the training facility will be on-site in the industrial park, and students will be able to attend class, then put into practice what they learned while interning with local manufacturers.
The remainder of the 5,110-square-foot building will be available for lease to entrepreneurs.
“It will give (people) a chance to excel and move up within their current company, or start their own, ultimately creating new positions for machinists and welders,” Kurtenbach said.