Cybersecurity: South Dakota’s Next Big Industry
By: Governor Kristi Noem
September 22, 2023
When I first ran for governor, I promised the people of South Dakota that I would bring the next big industry to our state. We want to keep our kids and grandkids living and working in South Dakota, so we’re focused on bringing the jobs of the future to keep them here. Careers in technology and innovation are the future. And South Dakota has the opportunity to build a future for our kids and grandkids.
Cybersecurity is South Dakota’s next big industry. Our fastest growing sector is “Scientific, and Technical Services,” with 4,000 jobs added in the past five years – a growth of 25%.
South Dakota already has one of the top universities in the nation for cybersecurity and emerging technology. Dakota State University has received designations in cyber operations, cyber defense, and cyber research from the NSA and Homeland Security. There are only ten institutions in the entire country that can say that!
DSU was also the first school in America to create a Ph.D. program in cyber operations. And earlier this year, Dakota State University established an Educational Partnership Agreement with the U.S. Army Cyber Command. This partnership allows students to experience work and educational opportunities at the top classification level. In fact, DSU was the only school in America to send four students to compete for Team USA at the World Cyber Games.
South Dakota is in the middle of the country – and we’re landlocked, so foreign spy ships and subs can’t reach us. It makes a lot of sense for cybersecurity resources to be centered here.
Dakota State’s “MadLabs” is the heart of this. It is the key facility in Madison, and we’ve built partnerships with private industry to expand it to Sioux Falls. They are doing incredible work to drive innovation throughout both the South Dakota economy and the entire nation. They focus on cybersecurity, AI, machine learning, digital forensics, and so much more.
We are also training kids even before they get to college. The Governor’s Cyber Academy provides opportunities for high school students to get some of this training early. Students can attend the academy to get dual-credit training opportunities during the summer. They earn digital badges as they learn skills that will help them get in-demand jobs in the future.
Dakota State University is giving students the kind of career opportunities that they can’t get anywhere else. These opportunities not only encourage our kids to stay in South Dakota to earn their college degree, they also put our state on the map and attract students from across America to choose South Dakota for their education.
I ran for governor to make sure that the next generation would inherit an America that they could be proud of. Accomplishing that goal starts with education.
I recently had the opportunity to be a member of a panel on the future of U.S. regional innovation at the Global Emerging Technology Summit. During this discussion, I got to tell South Dakota’s story and how we are making real progress right here in the heartland. I am so proud that South Dakota schools understand the importance of educating our students in the fields of the future – and I can’t wait to continue our hard work.