Tribal Colleges Offer Basic Education to Students 'Not Prepared for College'

Tribal Colleges Offer Basic Education to Students 'Not Prepared for College' 1

Dan Koeck for The Chronicle

Rochelle (Rocky) Carpenter (left) teaches a carpentry class at Leech Lake Tribal College, in Minnesota, where students are building two houses for families on the reservation. Tribal colleges hope to develop not only an educated work force but also local job opportunities.

Besieged by poverty, American Indians have historically trailed other minority groups in attending and finishing college. Many lack the literacy skills to succeed in college courses or job-training programs—natural routes to employment.

But as the country focuses on increasing college attainment and reducing unemployment, basic education for adults is becoming a national priority. The Obama administration and nonprofit groups like the Lumina Foundation for Education are