NPS Makes Agreement With AIHEC Students

Nov 15th, 2003 | By | Category: 15-2: Reclaiming Native Health, Tribal College News
By Ron Selden

PARTNERS FOR THE PARKS. Student Congress officers celebrate the signing of the MOU (left to right, back row): Julian Many Hides, Dan Harrison of the NPS, Juan Perez (Student Congress sponsor), and SKC President Joe McDonald; (front row): Grace Samuels, Ronnadette Tanner, and Karin Baca.

As part of an ongoing effort to expand relationships with tribes and further diversify its workforce, the National Park Service (NPS) has signed an historic memorandum of understanding with the American Indian Higher Education Consortium’s Student Congress.

Along with connecting students with jobs, the action means the agency has vowed to work more closely with the organization by sponsoring various leadership development events and public relations activities, among other measures, said Dana Grant, director of development at Salish Kootenai College (SKC, Pablo, MT). The document was signed during a May ceremony at SKC.

“We’re very excited about it and are very glad that the Park Service wanted to do it,” Grant said. “We’re hoping it will lead to other possibilities for our students in the future. We also hope it will lead to the opening of other doors with other federal agencies.”

Dan Harrison, the agency’s chief of higher education and parks initiatives, said similar memorandums have been signed with various colleges and organizations across the country. But this is the first time such a concrete step has been taken with a tribal college group.

Harrison said that the move dovetails with other efforts to better communicate with minorities. It follows agency action to establish a satellite uplink that tribal colleges could hook into last year. The uplink is designed to spread information about employment opportunities within all Park Service programs. The agency hires hundreds of seasonal workers at its parks, monuments, and other facilities around the nation. Summer jobs usually fit well with students; and seasonal work, combined with the right education, can often lead to longtime careers.

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