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Mar 30, 2011

Eleutian hiring S.D. teachers to give video English lessons

RAPID CITY, S.D. — A Wyoming company that hires certified teachers to give English lessons overseas using video conferencing technology said it plans to hire 50 teachers in Spearfish, 120 in Rapid City and 30 in Winner.


The work pays an average of $11 to $13 an hour and teachers can work part time to supplement their incomes, said David Baker, vice president of Cody, Wyo.-based Eleutian Technology.


The Governor's Office of Economic Development announced Tuesday that it recruited Eleutian with grants of up to $400,000 in state Workforce Training Dollars and up to $50,000 in technology assistance through the Future Fund.


Eleutian has leased space and is now hiring a teacher supervisor for its Spearfish center. It is also accepting applications for teacher positions in Spearfish at its website at www.eleutian.com. When that center is established, it plans to open offices in Rapid City and then Winner.


Eleutian teachers partner with English-speaking classroom teachers in South Korea, Japan and China to deliver live video lessons. They bring the benefit of fluency in conversational English and a flat, Midwestern accent that is easy to understand and beneficial in business, Baker said.


He expects to have no problem filling the available positions with teachers looking to earn extra income. Under the agreement for the state grants, Eleutian must offer teachers at least 25 hours a week and provide benefits including health insurance with a portion of the premium paid.


"We're not trying to recruit all the teachers to leave the public school system," Baker said.


He said he considers the $11 to $13 an hour a good wage because a starting teacher in South Dakota might earn $28,000 a year. A person working 40 hours a week at $13 an hour would earn $27,040 a year.


However, a Rapid City school teacher's contract is based on a 183.5-day schedule, and a person earning $27,040 a year on that schedule would earn $18.42 an hour working eight hours a day.


Eleutian was founded in Ten Sleep, Wyo., in 2006 by Kent Holiday, who had worked in telecommunications in South Korea and saw a market for English lessons. The company relocated recently to Cody and now has nine centers in Wyoming and one in Utah. It is also being recruited to set up centers in Montana.


The company trains teachers to use its platform and curriculum, and then lets them set their own hours and teach the English classes from home or from an Eleutian center.


The Eleutian Spearfish Teaching Center will be at 741 N. Main St., Suite 4, in the Spearfish Plaza building. The 1,400-square-foot space will hold 20 workstations that can be used for teacher training and overseas instruction.


"We're excited to welcome the company to Spearfish," said Bryan Walker, executive director of the Spearfish Economic Development Corporation. "It'll be a wonderful addition to the community."


In addition to the state incentives, the Spearfish Economic Development Corporation is also helping Eleutian with initial training costs and with leasing expenses, Walker said. He declined to say how much the company will receive.


"In Spearfish, one of our assets here is Black Hills State University and the outstanding teachers that they graduate from that program," Walker said. "It would be another opportunity for some younger teachers to earn additional income or to stay in the area utilizing technology."


SOURCE: BillingsGezette