In the last two years, Sioux Falls has seen a “growth spurt” in resources available for people starting their own business, including our own “super hub” with the Zeal Center for Entrepreneurship.

Higher education shouldn’t have to be an either-or decision between skilled trades and liberal arts. 

That’s the rationale behind a recently expanded partnership between Dakota Wesleyan University (DWU) and Mitchell Technical Institute. 

The two Mitchell colleges, one a private four-year university and the other a tech school focused on two-year degrees, are teaming up to offer a new program that pairs construction with entrepreneurship. 

It’s a four-year program in which students take classes from both schools at the same time. For example, a student may take a construction course in the morning at Mitchell Tech and then head to DWU in the afternoon for a business class.

“It’s not one or the other,” said Fredel Thomas, dean of admissions and marketing at DWU. “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 schools have already had their first student register for the new program. 

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DWU and Mitchell Tech have long been community partners, but that partnership became more formally articulated last year when the two schools came together for a Bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in agriculture. 

The response to that program was overwhelming, Thomas said, and she sees the agriculture and now the construction programs as the first of many partnerships to come. 

“The fact that you’re benefiting from small classes at a private, baccalaureate school and then…