High school students on the reservation will benefit from a program to encourage graduation and college enrollment. The U.S. Department of Labor will provide more than $900,000 to the program, 'Rewarding Youth Achievement.' It is part of a $20 million nationwide program designed to increase educational and employment opportunities for young people who are meeting high academic and school-attendance standards. The tribe plans to involve employers and use Indians in Medicine and Upward Bound, School to Work initiatives and existing programs provided through the 21st Century After School Program to fill gaps in service. Program partners include Oglala Lakota College, the Department of the Interior, Flowering Tree Project Residential Services and other private and public entities. Funding enabled the locally based programs to provide paid summer jobs and an array of services including career assessment and counseling, mentoring, summer math and science classes, tutoring and college-bound experiences for high school youths.
Jonas Rock of Pine Ridge received an academic achievement scholarship at Black Hills State University in Spearfish. Scholarships provide one quarter of the tuition cost and can be renewed for three additional years providing the recipient maintains a 3.09 cumulative grade-point average and completes 30 credits per academic year at the university. Recipients had to be in the top third of their high school graduating class and have an official ACT score of 21 or higher.