SPEARFISH | South Dakota Secretary of Labor and Regulation Marcia Hultman, a graduate of Black Hills State University, has advice for young people preparing for their careers: Find a part-time job while you are young and be open to changes in your career expectations.
“Try out occupations you might be interested in to make informed career decisions based on what’s in demand, types of wages, and training for a job,” Hultman said. “Give yourself the opportunity to change your mind.”
It's advice Hultman followed in her own life. After graduating from Black Hills State with her English education degree in 1985, Hultman taught in Belle Fourche, Hot Springs, at a juvenile corrections facility in Custer, and was the first teacher hired when the alternative high school began in Rapid City.
Hultman then moved to Pierre in 1998 when her husband, Brian Hultman, who's also an alum of Black Hills State, started a new job. It was springtime and with no available teaching positions mid-year, Hultman accepted an entry-level position at the Department of Labor and Regulation (DLR).
“In retrospect, the solid communication skills I gained from my English background at Black Hills State helped me grow over my 25 years with the DLR,” she said.
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Hultman was provided great opportunities for advancement in the department, with positions that allowed her to “learn about everything the Department accomplished.” A strong female mentor, former Secretary of Labor Pam Roberts, who now serves on the Board of Regents, appointed Hultman as her deputy secretary. When Roberts retired, then Gov. Dennis Daugaard appointed Hultman as secretary.
Now in her fifth year as Secretary of DLR, Hultman said she enjoys the challenge of staying current on workforce trends. She said she's challenged by the technical aspects of banking and insurance regulations, which impact all South Dakotans’ lives on a daily basis.
“DLR is very diverse – workforce programs, helping employers find workers and helping South Dakotans gain the skills they need to be successful. We oversee nine licensing boards and commissions,” Hultman said.
When asked about her road from an education degree at Black Hills State to the top labor position in the state, Hultman said DLR employs many teachers. The department works with employers to explore what they value for degrees and certificates. That means a constant connection to education.
Hultman is proud to be a fourth generation South Dakotan, born and raised on a family farm west of Belle Fourche, that has been in her family more than 100 years. She chose to follow the same path as two women she greatly respected, her mother and grandmother, in pursuing a degree in education at Black Hills State.
“You can have great expectations about what you want to be when you’re older, but know that many people didn’t take a direct path to their career,” Hultman said. “I want young South Dakotans to know there are hundreds of opportunities for you to create your career in our state.”