Four tribal colleges get federal jobs funding

Feb 8th, 2012 | By | Category: 23-3: Technology and Culture, Tribal College News

United Tribes Technical College (UTTC, Bismarck, ND) has been awarded $18.9 million to lead a group of four tribal colleges in North Dakota and eastern Montana in a program of targeted career training and jobs development.

The funding was awarded through the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Program funded by the U. S. Departments of Labor and Education. UTTC will serve as facilitator for the three-year program known as the Tribal College Consortium for Developing Montana and North Dakota Workforce (TCC DeMaND).

Partnering with UTTC are Cankdeska Cikana Community College (CCCC, Fort Totten, ND), Fort Peck Community College (FPCC, Poplar, MT), and Aaniiih Nakoda College (ANC, Harlem, MT, formerly known as Fort Belknap College). ANC will receive $3.9 million over three years to implement its portion of the project.

“This is very significant to these tribal colleges and the tribes they serve,” says David M. Gipp, UTTC president. “These are targeted resources to effectively train and educate students and help their tribal communities create and sustain jobs development.”

The proposal from UTTC was one of 32 accepted nationwide and the only one from a tribal college. Community colleges around the country will receive nearly $500 million in the initial round to support partnerships with employers and develop programs that provide pathways to good jobs.

The TCC DeMaND program has four main educational priorities: to accelerate progress for low-skilled and other workers; improve retention and achievement rates and/or reduce time in training; build programs that meet industry needs, including developing career pathways; and strengthen online and technology-enabled learning.

The tribal colleges in the consortium are working together and pooling their expertise and resources. Local community partners and employers have signed on to guide program development, a requirement for all grant recipients. The industries targeted fall into five career clusters: manufacturing; architecture and construction; health science; law, public safety, corrections, and security; and transportation, distribution, and logistics. The colleges will create or enhance a number of certificate and degree programs that address workforce needs locally and regionally.

UTTC will create a new welding certificate program and electrician short-term training certificate, enhance its existing GIS (geographic information system) offerings to be a full certificate and AAS degree program, and enhance its Energy Auditor program to include a wider variety of opportunities.

FPCC is offering two new programs: welding and a Certified Nurse Assistant program. The college will also enhance its programs for electrical line workers, building trades, truck driving (CDL), and heavy equipment certifications.

ANC is expanding its Allied Health program to offer several new training programs, including Certified Nurse Assistant, to meet healthcare shortages on and around the Fort Belknap Reservation. The college is enhancing its carpentry program and adding new certifications in welding, weatherization, and alternative energy technologies.ANC also will be offering training for environmental certifications in hazardous materials handling and hazardous waste operations.

CCCC is developing a new AAS degree program in Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC). HVAC technicians are in demand on the Spirit Lake Reservation and regionally.

The TCC DeMaND project will include the creation of instructional programs that meet specific industry needs. The project also aims to strengthen technology-enabled learning, and allow students and workers to access learning materials online.

To accelerate progress, the consortium will implement a preprofessional seminar for each participant at the outset of training or instruction. The project will implement the nationally recognized, research-based assessment system “ACT WorkKeys” that measures student skills in the workplace. The training will be designed with “stackable” courses that build incrementally toward advancing degrees. The offerings will include general education coursework that is portable across delivery systems. Student support will be integrated using mobile technology.

The project is expected to impact 1,800 students over three years. It will track employment and retention, credit attainment, and industry-recognized certifications and degrees, as well as demographic data. It is expected that 450 industry-recognized short-term certificates will be awarded, 360 one-year certificates, and 270 associate degrees. The goal of the program is to assist 810 students in gaining employment, with 486 of those retaining employment for at least six months after.

Among the long-term benefits, the TCC DeMaND program will create a lasting impact on tribal higher education, emphasizing the use of evidence in program design, collection of student outcome data, and conducting evaluations to build knowledge about the most successful strategies.

For more information, contact Barbara Schmitt (701) 255-3285 Ext. 1436, bschmitt@uttc.edu, or Jennifer Janecek-Hartman (701) 255-3285 Ext. 1396, jjanecekhartman@uttc.edu. The Aaniiih Nakoda College point of contact is Deb Eve at (406) 353-2607 Ext. 226.

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