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Legislative panel completes workforce development study

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By Bob Mercer

Capitol Correspondent

PIERRE — The Legislature’s planning committee finished its draft report on workforce development Monday.

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The goal is to distribute the final document to all 70 representatives and 35 senators at least a week or more before the Jan. 14 start of the 2014 legislative session, said Rep. Scott Munsterman, R-Brookings. He is the panel’s chairman.

“That way they have time to think about it as they think about their (legislation),” Munsterman said.

Munsterman said he and the vice chairman, Sen. Mike Vehle, R-Mitchell, would work with the committee’s staff analyst to fine-tune the language and return the report in the next week to the committee members for a final review.

The full report will be publicly available upon its completion.

Vehle said the report can be used in the years ahead for legislators to review at the start of each session. He said lawmakers can decide whether progress has been adequate and whether additional steps need to be outlined.

“So people have an idea where we’re at,” Vehle said.

The report at this point is broad in its objectives, such as public schools should produce graduates ready for college, technical training or the workplace.

Another one calls for South Dakota universities and tech institutes to price tuition and fees at amounts competitive with those in other states.

Sen. Corey Brown, R-Gettysburg, said a focus of the report is that South Dakota faces a projected decline of 15 percent in people ages 18-24 in the coming decades while nationally that age group will grow 20 percent.

Another key part of the report looks at conditions for American Indians in school performance, job availability and employment training.

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