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UTTC reaches into Indian Country
Condensed by Native Village

North Dakota: Education opens doors. It builds bridges. It promotes understanding and knowledge. And it provides stepping stones to jobs and careers.

All this is true of the 37 tribal colleges and universities in the American Indian Higher Education Consortium. But these institutions have an added mission: preserving and protecting Native languages and culture.

They are about people and place.

One tribal college is about to open a new door. This summer, the United Tribes Technical College of Bismarck plans to open a technical learning center in Rapid City, S.D.   Assisting the college's efforts will be the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, the Western Dakota Technical Institute and the U.S. Department of Interior.

UTTC not intend to compete with nearby Oglala Lakota College.  Instead, it brings new educational options to the Black Hills area, a spiritual location for Native Americans.

It’s a meaningful move for UTTC. While Native Americans make up about 5% of the Bismark, ND population, they represent 12.4% of the Rapid City area.

“Fifty percent of our relatives live off the reservation,” says Phil Baird, UTTC’s vice president for academic, career and technical education.

For those living on reservations, high-speed Internet access isn’t always available. UTTC will bring a technical training center with computer access, technical support and financial aid assistance.

With about 1,400 students, UTTC currently offers:

3 bachelor of science degrees 12 associate of applied science degrees 13 certificate programs  6 online associate of applied science programs

Eventually UTTC will also offer classes for 2-year and 4-year degrees via the Internet.

UTTC will be housed at the National American University campus in Rapid City. Baird foresees other American Indian colleges establishing outreach programs there as well.


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