South Dakota’s public universities retain nearly three-quarters of their home-grown graduates in state, according to the latest Board of Regents’ placement study. The report was delivered to the regents at a meeting this week in Spearfish.
An analysis found that 73.7 percent of in-state public university students were placed in South Dakota the year following college graduation, either to work or to pursue additional postsecondary education. For out-of-state students completing degrees at South Dakota public universities, the percentage that remained was just over 33 percent.
“Clearly, the public university system must take the lead in working to meet the state’s skilled workforce needs,” said Mike Rush, the regents’ executive director and CEO. “Our universities already are hard at work to build the state’s supply of human capital.” As a starting point, Rush said the regents decided earlier this year to look at a statewide attainment goal of 65 percent of South Dakotans, ages 25 to 34, holding some type postsecondary credential by 2025.
Rush noted that the in-state graduate placement rate has climbed steadily, as more students complete their studies, graduate from the state’s public universities, and make a choice to remain here. Data indicate that nearly 1,000 additional graduates were placed in 2012-13 compared to the number placed seven years earlier.
The top-two industries where graduates found employment in South Dakota were health care (29.1 percent) and educational services (20.7 percent). Several of the highest-ranked employment sectors that South Dakota graduates entered also correspond to industries projected by the state labor department to be in high demand for employment through 2022.
For those college graduates who continued on for post-graduation education, nearly 70 percent enrolled in a South Dakota institution, according to the study.
The placement study examined data sets from the Board of Regents, the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation, and the National Student Clearinghouse to determine the extent to which public university degree completers were retained in state after graduation.