LRSC featured in American Institutes for Research newsletter

An article in American Institutes for Research newsletter highlihghts LRSC's work in apprenticeships with neighboring tribal colleges.


In honor of November’s Native American Heritage Month we’ll look at how North Dakota is using its SAE 2020 grant and private grant dollars to expand apprenticeship capacity within tribal colleges and apprenticeship pathways for Native Americans living in or outside of Indian reservations in the State.

Lake Region State College (LRSC) in North Dakota partnered with five tribal colleges in its SAE 2020 grant application, with the goal of supporting economic development and growth of the reservations and improving Registered Apprenticeship opportunities for Native Americans across the State. SAE 2020 grant funds were used initially for capacity building — exporting LRSC’s successful apprenticeship program to the tribal colleges, though tailored to each area’s unique needs. The project also funded marketing and outreach to employers in high-growth sectors (including healthcare, cybersecurity, social work, advanced manufacturing, construction/skilled trades, travel and tourism, and early childhood development). Recently, the Hess Corporation, Halliburton, and Nabors Industries provided $14 million to build on the groundwork laid with SAE 2020 grant funds and provide employer incentives and apprentice supports such as transportation, tuition, childcare, utilities, and stipends.

Melana Howe, the Apprenticeship Coordinator for LRSC who headed up the proposal for this partnership, emphasizes the need to build trust with tribal colleges. North Dakota helped build that trust by including the tribal college partners in the beginning phases of the proposal, working closely with them to identify and fund plans to meet their needs, and consistently offering support. "Education and training is the quickest method to change someone's economic status. Apprentice programs — with employment, wage increases, and embedded workplace learning developed to meet the local workforce and business needs by a tribal college — are a perfect fit," stated Melana.