“The purpose of this program is to support entities with demonstrated experience and expertise in developing and implementing programs for the unique populations who reside in Alaska or Hawaii, to improve job training and workforce development activities for such unique populations. Specifically, this program is geared towards creating culturally, linguistically, and geographically appropriate programs with the goal of strengthening and developing STEM related education, employment, and training programs for Native youth and young adults.
Only 81 percent of Asian-American high school students and 71 percent of white high school students attend high schools where a full range of math and science courses are offered (Algebra I, geometry, Algebra II, calculus, biology, chemistry, and physics). The access to these courses for American Indian, Native Alaskan, Black and Hispanic high school students are significantly worse. Not enough youth have access to quality STEM learning opportunities and too few students see these disciplines as springboards for their careers. The United States is falling behind internationally, ranking 29th in math and 22nd in science among industrialized nations. Only 16 percent of American high school seniors are proficient in math and interested in a STEM career. Even among those who do go on to pursue a college major in the STEM fields, only about half choose to work in a related career.
Twenty-two percent of American Indians and Alaska Natives ages 25 and older have not finished high school, and only thirteen percent have completed a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to twenty nine percent of the U.S. population who have a bachelor’s degree or higher. For Native American youth, this translates to fewer opportunities to complete college or career training and move into meaningful jobs. For Native American communities, this means fewer opportunities to develop leaders who can build stronger tribal economies and contribute to the overall rebuilding of Native nations. The negative effects of poverty, the troubled history of Indian education, and the many systemic challenges affecting Native youth have resulted in lower academic and educational outcomes and fewer educational opportunities than their peers.
While progress has been made, American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians continue to have poorer educational outcomes than the general population by nearly all measures:
• American Indian/Alaskan Native high school graduation rate is 67 percent, the lowest of any racial/ethnic demographic group across all schools.
• Bureau of Indian Education schools have a graduation rate of 53 percent, compared to a national average of 80 percent.
• Native American students score lower than other students in mathematics. A National Indian Education study in 2011 found that American Indian/Alaska Native fourth graders scored 16 points lower on average in mathematics than nonAmerican Indian/Alaska Native students and eighth graders scored 19 points lower.
• American Indian and Alaska Native youth are the least likely of all student populations to attend a high school that offers Advanced Placement courses.
• Eighty-one percent of American Indian and Native-Alaskan English learners are enrolled in English language instruction programs, compared to 92 percent of their Latino and black peers.
• While there is less data available on Native Hawaiians, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that in 2014, 20.9 percent of Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders age 25 and older had a bachelor’s degree or higher compared with 30.1 percent for the total population. In addition, 6.6 percent of Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders age 25 and older had obtained a graduate or professional degree in 2014 compared with 11.4 percent for the total population of this age.”
Excerpted from U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Employment and Training Administration NOTICE OF AVAILABILITY OF FUNDS AND FUNDING OPPORTUNITY ANNOUNCEMENT FOR: Indian and Native American Employment and Training Programs – Assistance to Unique Populations in Alaska and Hawaii