NSU offers Chinese certification to keep up with workforce, market demands

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ABERDEEN, S.D. Knowing a second language can be a powerful tool when applying for international jobs. Northern State University is hoping to help anyone wanting to boost their resume with a Chinese language certificate.

It's a two-year program that involves classes at the introductory level as well as intermediate. After that, the certification goes on the student's transcript while the skill is added to their resume.

The certificate may not prepare a person to become an interpreter, but it'll help score jobs in a variety of fields.

"Big corporations, Amazon, Apple, these kinds of big corporations are looking for people who have a moderate amount of Chinese knowledge and that have some cultural fluency and know a little bit about what it's like doing business in China," Northern State University Confucius Institute Director Greg DePies said.

China is one of South Dakota's biggest trading partners, so having residents that know a moderate amount of Chinese is important. The agriculture and hospitality industries are top areas that knowing the language could be a helpful addition to any organization.

"If I could get someone to be fluent in that on my staff, to have that as an additional skill would be very beneficial," South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation Aberdeen Office Manager Dan Thielsen said.

Not only is NSU offering Chinese on a college level, but they're also bringing the language into area high schools. Right now, any South Dakota students can take online courses in the language. Aberdeen Central High School is starting to offer in-person classes to expand the language to younger students. NSU staff hope to bring the language to elementary school students because it's usually easier for young minds to grasp the language.

This level of language proficiency is sought out by many businesses on a national and international stage. Jobs exist in almost every market segment where Chinese language proficiency is preferred or a really strong plus for employment.

The Confucius Institute at the university can advance Chinese language and cultural learning opportunities across the region. For more information, visit the website to the right of this article.