AIHEC commends North Dakota legislatureJun 14th, 2013 | By tcj | Category: 25-2: Tribal and Behavioral Health, Tribal College News
The American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), the collective spirit and unifying voice of tribal colleges and universities (TCUs), applauded the North Dakota State Senate and Governor Jack Dalrymple for enacting legislation to provide vitally needed workforce development grants to the state’s five TCUs: Cankdeska Cikana Community College (Fort Totten, ND), Fort Berthold Community College (New Town, ND), Sitting Bull College (Fort Yates, ND), Turtle Mountain Community College (Belcourt, ND), and United Tribes Technical College (Bismarck, ND).
AIHEC President and CEO Carrie L. Billy commended the legislature and the governor’s office in their decision. She noted that the enacted bill authorizes $5 million in workforce development grants to support degree- or certificate-granting programs, helping Native students qualify for highly recruited jobs and providing financial assistance to TCU students who hope to start new businesses in North Dakota.
Billy points out that American Indians living on reservations in North Dakota, where unemployment and poverty rates range from 33% to 55%, will especially benefit from this legislation. She also underscored the impact that TCUs have on North Dakota’s economy. “Make no mistake about it: TCUs in North Dakota have had a critical role in the state’s bottom line for many years, and they will for generations to come. According to the recent report commissioned by the North Dakota Association of Tribal Colleges titled, ‘Economic Contribution of North Dakota’s Tribal Colleges,’ North Dakota’s five tribal institutions generated $182 million to the state’s economy last year alone,” she stated.
Billy went on to note that TCUs serve as “beacons of hope” in their respective communities. “It is a very sound investment to always support tribal institutions and their students. Even a modest investment will pay significant dividends for years to come: Education is as priceless as it is transformative,” she said.