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News Story

Federal Reserve cites Nicolet College/Lac du Flambeau partnership as positive example of workforce development

 

July 30, 2012
It's not too often the Federal Reserve takes note of what is happening in rural northern Wisconsin.

But the agency that sets monetary policy for the country did just that recently by publishing a story on Native American economic development efforts that cited the successful partnership between Nicolet College and the Lac du Flambeau tribe.

A major initiative of the college and tribe in recent years has been to increase the number of tribal members who hold bachelor's degrees. To accomplish this, the college established a dedicated classroom in Lac du Flambeau to teach University Transfer Liberal Arts classes, among others.

"For this northern Wisconsin tribe, bringing the community college to the students, rather than having the students drive to the college, is turning out to be quite an effective workforce development strategy," wrote Jacob Wascalus in the July issue of Community Dividend, published by The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.

He continued: "The Nicolet College-Lac du Flambeau partnership provides community members with a convenient opportunity to take classes on a range of subjects, such as business management and natural resources, that are fundamental to careers with tribal employers and area businesses.

The goal of the partnership is to increase the overall educational attainment of tribal community members—first by establishing a curriculum for them to earn an associate's degree from Nicolet College and then by facilitating their transfer to a traditional, four-year institution, such as a college within the University of Wisconsin System. Currently, approximately 7 percent of Lac du Flambeau Reservation residents have bachelor's degrees. The tribe would like to see that number increase to 10 percent through this program."

The article also quoted Rachelle Ashley, Nicolet's director of Multicultural Services.

"Because we're a small college, we're able to adapt to the changing needs of students and regional job providers," Ashley explained. "We're doing a range of classes in response to the workforce demands of tribal employers."

The complete article can be viewed online at www.minneapolisfed.org/publications_papers/pub_display.cfm?id=4901