architectural rendering of new cyber lab

The 90 Million Dollar Initiative

In January, Dakota State announced a new plan to expand the research facility. Lots of hubbub has been going around about the 90-million-dollar initiative. People have heard from the mayor of Sioux Falls, the governor, and the university president, but what exactly is happening? Simply put, the plan is to build a new specialized cyber facility in Sioux Falls. I spoke with Bailey Belisario, an employee at MadLabs, about his thoughts on the push to get DSU graduates to stay in South Dakota.

               The plan is to open the new facility in Fall 2025. Ideally, the Sioux Falls location will provide around 400 to 500 full-time jobs. The new jobs will be excellent for the economy in Sioux Falls. They will also provide for the growing need for cyber security. Belisario talked about how a cyber security infrastructure will have an excellent economic factor. Sioux Falls has mentioned plans to create a cyber/IT park to help support the area around the new facility. While the new jobs will help diversify the economy in Sioux Falls, the main goal of the new facility is to keep students who graduate from DSU in the state.

These jobs will help keep recent graduates and their cyber talent here in South Dakota. Many students who get their degrees in the cyber fields move out of state. We lose many talented people to other states because there are better offers in other locations. DSU is working with the Sioux Falls community to prevent many students from relocating after graduation. They are creating an in-state facility where students can work.

Belisario mentioned that the new facility would also bring in people from around the country. Madison is gaining a lot of recognition for its cyber security work. As a result, more people are becoming aware of the new job opportunities in South Dakota. Belisario said, “we bring competitive wages to the table.” Ideally, DSU graduates will fill all these jobs quickly after the facility is built.

               While MadLabs and the new facility will be one organization separate from the university, it is essential to note DSU will be partners with the organization. Being partners should help any graduates transition into the workplace much more manageable. Belisario stated, “you don’t have to leave everything you’ve built in the past four years behind.” He also explained how he is still involved in on-campus activities. It gives people looking to work at MadLabs a unique experience.

               The new applied research lab is an exciting new development that our university gets to be a part of. Belisario and many people who are part of the initiative are very excited about the new facility.