Unemployment High on Reservations | VideoKristin Clouston | 3/7/2013
Most of North Dakota`s tribal colleges are on reservations, and the people who work at them say they want to help others become successful.
"I wanted to show my children that with the right choices, you can do whatever you want," said Candace Eagle, who works in Job Placement at Sitting Bull College. "Sitting Bull College has given me that opportunity to move forward, to be something I`ve always wanted to be which was working in the management profession."
A bill that passed unanimously in the Senate would establish a five million dollar grant so the five colleges could train people for the workforce and create jobs on the reservations.
"There`s also a serious housing shortage on almost all the reservations," said Cynthia Lindquist, the President of Candeska Cikana College. "On my reservation, we have a list of 400 families who need homes, and I`m hoping to do construction."
Many of the colleges have workforce development plans.
"If you look at the firefighters on Standing Rock or any tribal reservation, you see the firefighters," said Sitting Bull College President Laurel Vermillion. "They do really well when they go out because they are in this crew concept, and that`s kind of where we`re stealing that idea from that. I know it will work."
"I have one student who wants to get a food truck and go around and be a food vendor, but what kinds of training does she need?Ē adds Lindquist. "I`m hoping at Cankdeska Cikana Community College to create a business center to help the students do what they really want to do."
Tribal college presidents say they just need funding to get more people working.
The bill will be introduced in the House next week. If it becomes law, the Workforce Development Program will be a joint project between the tribal colleges and the Department of Commerce.