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South Dakota among the worst states for losing workers to ‘brain drain’

A new report found that South Dakota is one of the state’s highest at-risk of losing its most...
A new report found that South Dakota is one of the state’s highest at-risk of losing its most educated workers.(U.S. Senate)
Published: Nov. 5, 2021 at 6:11 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - The U.S. Senate Joint Committee on the Economy found that South Dakota suffers the most from highly educated people leaving the state.

This phenomenon has come to be known as ‘brain drain.’

A new report found that South Dakota is one of the state’s highest at-risk of losing its most educated workers.

But why is Mount Rushmore State suffering so much from this so-called ‘bran drain?’

Matthew Hanley, director of the career and professional development center at South Dakota Mines said that it could be that ideal opportunities for STEM students are in more industry-rich areas of the country.

“They’re interested in staying in South Dakota, but also equally as interested in going somewhere else,” Hanley said. “So, they’re going to take the opportunity that’s best for them, and sometimes it’s out of the state.”

Several companies in Rapid City are working to address the issue of brain drain in the area. One of those companies is RESPEC, a science and technology company that has operations all around the world.

RESPEC CEO Todd Kenner said that with Rapid City’s growing population, keeping scientists and researchers here can benefit the thriving economy, while also contributing to worldwide projects.

“We import a lot of work from other areas, which allows us to hire great talent, retain talent in the state, while not being really over-reliant on the business activity we have here locally,” Kenner said.

RESPEC was founded in the 1960s by South Dakota Mines students aiming to keep groundbreaking research projects in the state.

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