San Manuel Band donates $2.5 million


RIVERSIDE, Calif. – The San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians announced a commitment of $2.5 million to a program of career technical instruction offered by the Riverside County Office of Education for students of Sherman Indian High School.

A press conference and announcement was held at the school in Riverside and included officials from San Manuel, the United States Department of the Interior, RCOE and Sherman Indian High School administration and foundation and concluded immediately before the school’s graduation ceremony.

This unique partnership of tribal, school and county entities was forged to address a need for Native American students to develop career pathways that will contribute to new opportunities for Native students and continued economic development of Native American communities. A forward thinking program, the career pathway includes an energy and utilities component that includes a green jobs program, preparing students in the emerging renewable energy industry.

“Education, employment and a sense of identity can prepare Native students to overcome negative obstacles which disproportionally affect Native Americans,” said San Manuel Chairman James Ramos. “Native peoples on a whole face disparities in health, employment and community development. It is our hope that the pathways set out through this partnership will enable these students to make a brighter future through increased employment opportunities.”

The 2000 Census data show 25.9 percent of all American Indians and Alaska Natives are living below the poverty line. In contrast, the national poverty rate was 12.4 percent.

The training program for Sherman Indian School will include state approved courses that meet graduation requirements and teach skills in five career industry pathways. The five training areas will be health sciences, public services, hospitality, tourism and recreation, energy and utilities, and agricultural and natural resources.

“This partnership is a blessing that will improve the quality of education for our students,” said Sherman Indian Foundation President Ray Lopez. “San Manuel understands the importance of vocational education as a component of the overall Sherman experience and we will do our part to make sure we fulfill the promise of this partnership.”

The program is being administered by RCOE’s Career Technical Education unit in a special partnership with San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and the Sherman Indian Foundation.

“The Riverside County Office of Education is pleased to be a partner in this program and I want to thank the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians for their support for education,” said Kenneth M. Young, Riverside County superintendent of schools. “This program fits with our pledge to help all students become academically successful, graduate, and prepare for college and the workforce.”

The program is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2010 and will be funded for two years.

To apply for enrollment:

Sherman Indian High School

9010 Magnolia Avenue

Riverside, CA 92503

(951) 276-6325, ext. 390