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Tribal college consortium to receive funding for jobs training
Obama Administration bolsters community college role in workforce development
27 October 2011

BISMARCK (UTN) - United Tribes Technical College 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 (DOL and DOE).

TECHNOLOGY ASSISTED: Video conferencing is one method used by the tribal college consortium to conduct the TCC DeMaND Workforce Program. Here United Tribes senior staff members, seated in the college’s interactive video network studio, meet October 10 with working groups (on screen at front) from the partner colleges: Cankdeska Cikana Community College, Fort Totten, ND; Fort Peck Community College, Poplar, MT; and Aaniih Nakoda College, Harlem, MT, formerly Fort Belknap College. DENNIS J. NEUMANN United Tribes News

      United Tribes 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 United Tribes are: Cankdeska Cikana Community College, Fort Totten, ND; Fort Peck Community College, Poplar, MT; and Aaniih Nakoda College, Harlem, MT, formerly known as Fort Belknap College. All are members of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, a national association of the country’s tribal higher education institutions.

      “This is very significant to these tribal colleges, the tribes and the surrounding communities they serve,” said David M. Gipp, United Tribes Technical College president. “These are targeted resources to effectively train and educate students and sustain regional job development.”

Community Colleges

      The proposal from United Tribes 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.

As part of the TCC DeMaND Workforce Program, United Tribes will renew its successful 2010 Native American Electrician’s Training Program. DENNIS J. NEUMANN United Tribes News

      "Making it possible for unemployed Americans to return to work is a top priority of President Obama's. This initiative is about providing access to training that leads to real jobs," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis, when announcing the awards on September 26. "These federal grants will enable community colleges, employers and other partners to prepare job candidates for new careers in high-wage, high-skills fields."

      The grant awards underscored the Obama Administration’s reliance on community colleges for the delivery of workforce development and jobs training.

      "Building a well-educated workforce is critical to reviving and strengthening the American economy," said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "These grants will help community colleges and businesses work together to give students the skills they need to compete for good jobs in growing industries.”

Build/Enhance Programs

Local Partners/Employers
Assiniboine & Sioux Rural Water Supply System, Fort Peck, MT
Sioux Manufacturing Corp., Fort Totten, ND
Fort Belknap Public Health Nursing, Harlem, MT
Workforce Investment Act, Bismarck, ND

Local Interest
Dakotas Electrical JATC
Spirit Lake Casino
Spirit Lake TERO
Fort Peck Tribal Workforce Development
Fort Belknap 477 Employment and Training
Havre Job Service Workforce Center

      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: 1. manufacturing; 2. architecture and construction; 3. health science; 4. law, public safety, corrections and security; and 5. transportation, distribution and logistics. The colleges will create or enhance a number of certificate and degree programs that address workforce needs locally and regionally.

      “This is a great opportunity for educational programs that deliver the training and education needed for jobs in this region of the country,” said Jennifer Janecek-Hartman, United Tribes STEM Programs director and TCC DeMaND project planner. “There are opportunities waiting in the oil and energy industries that call for trained people.”

United Tribes

      United Tribes will create a new welding certificate program and electrician short-term training certificate. UTTC will enhance its existing GIS offerings to be a full certificate and AAS degree program. The college will also enhance its energy auditor training program to include a wider variety of opportunities.

Fort Peck

      Fort Peck Community College is offering two new programs: welding and a certified nurse assistant (CNA) program. The college will also enhance its programs for electrical line workers, building trades, truck driving (CDL), and heavy equipment certifications.

Aaniih Nakoda

      Aaniih Nakoda College is developing a new CNA program to meet healthcare shortages on and around the Fort Belknap reservation. The college is enhancing their carpentry program and bringing in two new certifications in weatherization and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). Also they are developing two new environmental certifications that train for hazardous materials and hazardous waste operations.

Cankdeska Cikana

      Cankdeska Cikana Community College 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 pre-professional 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 open to all individuals seeking to increase their employability skills and is expected to impact 1,800 Indian and non-Indian 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 strategies that are most effective in training and placing graduates in jobs.

      For more information contact Barbara Schmitt 701-255-3285 x 1436, bschmitt@uttc.edu, or Jennifer Janecek-Hartman 701-255-3285 x 1396, jjanecekhartman@uttc.edu.


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