This week the Smithfield Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Smithfield Foods, Inc., contributed $250,000 to support Southeast Technical Institute’s New Opportunities for Workforce Development Campaign. The contribution to the Sioux Falls, S.D.-based technical school was announced during the annual South Dakota Chamber of Commerce Economic Outlook Seminar with Governor Kristi Noem and local and state leaders present. Over the next five years, Smithfield will contribute $50,000 per year to the program, which focuses on a variety of workforce development initiatives that provide customized educational programs to meet regional employment needs.
“We are pleased by this partnership with Smithfield Foods, as it will help our community maintain a continuous, well-trained workforce,” says Robert Griggs, president of Southeast Technical Institute. “This generous donation will enable us to expand the opportunities for our students in key industries and help ensure a bright future for Sioux Falls.”
The Southeast Tech NOW campaign addresses the region’s demand for recruitment, retention and expansion efforts to support future growth and sustainability in Sioux Falls. Smithfield’s five-year contribution will support the campaign’s focus on increased skills training and program enrollment, scholarship expansion and the introduction of a Veterinary Technician program to prepare students for research, lab and animal production careers.
“A highly skilled workforce is the backbone of a thriving economy, and I’m delighted by Smithfield’s commitment to further develop education opportunities in South Dakota,” says Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota. “This is a powerful partnership that responds to the developing needs our communities have for industry workers. It’s encouraging to see the many career opportunities that students have access to as Southeast Tech grows.”
Smithfield has been an employer in Sioux Falls since 1909. Currently, the company offers a tuition reimbursement program for employees with Southeast Tech where more than 100 Smithfield employees have received software training.
“With more than 3,500 Smithfield Family members in Sioux Falls, we are thrilled to support Southeast Technical Institute’s mission to develop the next generation of skilled workers for the future of this community,” says Kenneth M. Sullivan, president and chief executive officer for Smithfield Foods. “At Smithfield, we know that education has the power to dramatically strengthen our communities and we look forward to impacting positive change during our five-year partnership.”