MITCHELL, S.D. — A four-year university and a tech school in South Dakota are hoping a recently expanded partnership between the two will allow students to learn both skilled trades and liberal arts.

Dakota Wesleyan University and Mitchell Technical Institute are teaming up to offer a new four-year program that pairs construction with entrepreneurship, the Argus Leader reported.

The students would take classes from both schools at the same time.

“It’s not one or the other,” said Fredel Thomas, dean of admissions and marketing at the university. “It’s both, and both can work together to grow the workforce.”

Enrollment is open for the new bachelor’s degree in entrepreneurship with an emphasis in residential or commercial construction.

The two schools partners last year for a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in agriculture. Thomas said the response to that program was overwhelmingly positive.

“The fact that you’re benefiting from small classes at a private, baccalaureate school and then coming to a school like Mitchell Tech and getting hands-on, experiential learning … I can’t think of a better way to benefit students,” said Julie Brookbank, associate to the president at Mitchell Tech.

Brookbank said the program will help many construction students who want to own their own business can now better understand the business side of the equation.

“Small businesses don’t succeed sometimes because the operator doesn’t have the business knowledge,” Brookbank said. “DWU’s experience in entrepreneurial leadership will provide the kind of structure and coursework that a student would greatly benefit from.”

Information from: Argus Leader,

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