WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Education, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of the Interior, announced the award of more than $5 million in grants to help Native American youth become college- and career-ready.

Under the new Native Youth Community Projects (NYCP) program, the Department of Education is making grants to a dozen recipients in nine states that will impact more than thirty tribes and involve more than 48 schools. These awards are a demonstration of President Obama’s strong commitment to improving the lives of American Indian and Alaska Native children and a key element of his Generation Indigenous “Gen I” Initiative to help Native American youth.

“These grants are an unprecedented investment in Native youth, and a recognition that tribal communities are best positioned to drive solutions and lead change,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “These grants are a down payment on President Obama’s commitment last summer at his historic trip to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota to create new opportunities for American Indian youth to cultivate the next generation of Native leaders.”

“The investments we’re announcing today underscore the Obama Administration’s commitment to self-determination by putting tribal communities in the driver’s seat for developing a strong and prosperous future for Indian Country,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, who joined Education Secretary Arne Duncan in announcing the funding awards today and is responsible for the management of more than 180 Bureau of Indian Education Schools, three of which are recipients of these Native Youth Community Projects program grants. “These grants provide tools to tribes to not only assist in the transition from federal to tribal control of school operations and management but also ensure college-readiness for the next generation of Native American leaders.”

Each grant will support a coordinated, focused approach chosen by a community partnership that includes a tribe, local schools, and other organizations. For example, the program allows tribes to identify culturally-appropriate, community-specific supports for college and career readiness – whether it’s early learning, language immersion or mental health services.

The President’s FY 2016 budget proposal calls for increased investments across Indian Country, including a total request of $20.8 billion for a range of federal programs that serve tribes – a $1.5 billion increase over the 2015-enacted level. The budget proposal includes $53 million for fiscal year 2016 – a $50 million increase from this year’s budget – to significantly expand the Native Youth Community Projects program.

For more on the Administration’s investment in Native American issues, visit https://www.whitehouse.gov/nativeamericans.

Press Release: Department of  Interior – September, 24, 2015