Mar 13, 2013

Eagle Creek Software Services and South Dakota team to create 1,000 jobs

New $10-million technology center to open in Vermillion, S.D.; scholarships and career track at USD will train workforce

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Eagle Creek Software Services, the leader in onshore information technology services, announced today a partnership with the state of South Dakota and city of Vermillion to bring 1,000 jobs to the state. The rural high-tech jobs will be phased in over the next 3-5 years. A new $10 million technology center to be built in Vermillion, S.D. will house 200 of those jobs.

With U.S. based companies continuing to invest in information technology, there is an increased need for a skilled workforce—a demand that will only grow as technology becomes synonymous with corporate America.  Currently, many companies look overseas to fill STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) jobs, but with a new emphasis on higher education’s connection to economic development, U.S. companies can create a long-term solution to their technology needs.  Eagle Creek’s onshore model, coordinatedwith a new scholarship program at the University of South Dakota (USD), gives business control over their IT talent pool and IT needs.

“Foreign, or offshore, IT solutions are not adequately filling the needs of the U.S. market,” said Ken Behrendt, president of Eagle Creek Software Services.  “Technical skills are only one piece of core IT competencies.  Today’s IT reality requires an understanding of U.S. business practices, communications skills beyond technology and a focus on time-to-market.  By better educating our workforce, Eagle Creek Software Services can create a more sustainable and scalable IT solution while growing jobs in America.”

Through a partnership with the Board of Regents and USD, the newly launched Information Technology Consultant Academy will provide eligible students with a scholarship and a strategic career track to employment as an IT consultant.  USD students have two scholarship options: a certificate program for undergraduates and a master’s program.  The South Dakota Board of Regents plans to approve the certificate program at its April Board meeting and discussions between Eagle Creek and the Board of Regents continue about a customized master’s degree.

“The challenges of today’s job market call for new skills and approaches,” said James W. Abbott, president of the University of South Dakota.  “Our mission as a university should be to prepare students to succeed in an increasingly high-tech workforce.  We applaud and are proud to partner with Eagle Creek on this innovative project.  The Information Technology Consultant Academy will put students on a career path for success.”

The IT Consultant Academy at USD will create a well-trained local workforce in South Dakota who can take advantage of high paying jobs.  Graduates of the certificate program can expect to make between $40,000-45,000.  Students with a master’s may earn between $50,000-$60,000.

“This is a great day for South Dakota and the resurgent technology business in America,” said Gov. Dennis Daugaard.  “With a $10 million investment in the Vermillion community and new career path for University of South Dakota students, we are on track to create meaningful jobs that will benefit the community and make South Dakota more globally competitive in the information technology sector.”

The city of Vermillion proved to be an ideal location for Eagle Creek’s South Dakota expansion.

“Vermillion is already known as a destination for world class higher education,” said Steve Howe of the Vermillion Area Chamber and Development Company.  “This announcement further positions our city as a leader in technology and a global force in the IT industry.  Vermillion is proud to be on the forefront of South Dakota’s technology surge.”

The undergraduate IT Consultant Academy certificate program consists of:

  • 12 credit hours with a scholarship for full tuition and fees
  • 3 month paid internship with Eagle Creek
  • Job interview with Eagle Creek
  • Scholarship for approximately 50 percent of tuition (in addition to paid internship)

The Master’s Degree program consists of:

  • 2 year program ending with a Master’s Degree
  • Job interview with Eagle Creek
  • Scholarship for as much as $20,000

The USD Eagle Creek IT Consultant Academy will take its first full class this fall and the new technology center in Vermillion will be open in 2014.  Individuals interested in applying for the IT Consultant Academy can do so at:

About Eagle Creek

With over 300 consultants, Eagle Creek Software Services is the largest U.S. based onshore software services company.  The 14-year-old Minneapolis-based consulting company has focused on improving efficiency and quality, while managing price and risk, for its Fortune 2000 clients.  This means investing in America, where Eagle Creek has become a leader in rural IT sourcing with technology centers already established in Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota.

About The University of South Dakota
Founded in 1862, The University of South Dakota is designated as the only public liberal arts university in the state and is home to a comprehensive College of Arts and Sciences, School of Education, School of Health Sciences, the state's only School of Law, School of Medicine, the accredited Beacom School of Business and the College of Fine Arts. USD has an enrollment of more than 10,000 students taught by more than 400 faculty members. More information is available at

This material is available in an alternate format upon request. Please contact University Relations at 605-677-5759. If you are a person with a disability and need a special accommodation to fully participate in any university activity or event, please contact Disability Services at 605-677-6389 as soon as possible, but no later than 48 hours before the event, so that appropriate arrangements may be made.


Peter Carrels
The University of South Dakota
(605) 216-1233
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