National American Indian Heritage Month gives us an opportunity to pay tribute to the rich history and culture of Native Americans. This month, we highlight two resources that showcase job training programs across different tribal communities in North Dakota, Montana, Wisconsin, and Alaska. Both resources document the need for culturally sensitive and customized strategies to meet the needs of Native students through supportive services and industry-recognized certificates and degrees.

Tribal Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG) Program Evaluation: Final Report. 2016. This report examines the healthcare-focused education and training provided to TANF recipients and low-income individuals at five tribal agencies and community colleges funded by the Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG). The report highlights how the evaluation team “worked to conduct a culturally responsive evaluation by receiving input from partners, advisors and most importantly, the Tribal HPOG grantees.” Including, “using dedicated small teams to work exclusively with each of the grantees.” The report also outlines “three key retention strategies: extensive screening processes for prospective HPOG students, systems for accountability, and the provision of supportive services.” Notably, the “sense of community within Tribal colleges and communities and program staffs’ knowledge of students’ personal and family circumstances allowed them to provide targeted support to students. Students were highly satisfied with the quality of instruction received and the dedication of their instructors.”

Training for Regional Energy in North Dakota (TREND): TAACCCT Round II Grant Evaluation Final Report. 2016. This study presents findings from an implementation and outcome evaluation of the Training for Regional Energy in North Dakota, a TAACCCT grant funded consortium of five community colleges—two state and three tribal—that aimed to increase the attainment of industry-recognized certificates and degrees. Each college implemented college appropriate strategies, such as: career pathways, technology-enabled learning, sector strategies, employer engagement, student support, stacked and latticed credentials, evidence-based design, alignment of systems and stakeholders, and credit transfer. At one tribal college, “funding provided not only the opportunity to create meaningful programs, but more importantly, the opportunity to fund an intensive student support system. The system, although resource heavy, is customized to meet the needs of each student, with a team of faculty, the TREND project manager, and career navigator, working directly with individual students to ensure success. The model has been adopted and is being used as a tool to improve…student services college-wide to ensure sustainability.”