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Two Minnesota Tribal Colleges are receiving National Science Foundation funding to expand their science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs.

The announcement came today from U.S. Senators Tina Smith, a member of the Senate Indian Affairs and Education Committees, and Amy Klobuchar (both D-Minn.).

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White Earth Tribal and Community College was awarded $2,500,000 to begin offering an associate’s degree in natural sciences, with coursework including biology, chemistry and physics. Red Lake Nation College was awarded $2,500,000 to expand curriculum in social and behavioral sciences, with coursework rooted in the Ojibwe language and culture, according to Senator Smith’s office.

“STEM education has never been more important as the demand for STEM-trained employees has soared,” said Senator Smith in a statement. “This funding will provide accessible pathways for Native students to pursue higher education and serve their communities – all while integrating Tribal cultural heritage and roots into their curriculum.”

Klobuchar added that expanding higher education offerings can be a game changer for students “These National Science Foundation awards will open doors for White Earth Tribal and Community College and Red Lake Nation College students to learn essential skills for in-demand careers while ensuring Ojibwe language and culture remain key components of their education,” she said in a statement.

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