The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families has awarded White Earth Tribal and Community College (WETCC) a $500,000.00 grant per year for five years.

WETCC will be partnering with White Earth Head Start and the University of Minnesota Crookston to offer educational opportunities for Head Start Staff to obtain their associate of arts (AA) degree with WETCC or a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota Crookston.  

This grant award with WETCC will further expand on a current partnership, created in 2016, with the University of Minnesota Crookston (UMN Crookston) by offering an Early Childhood Education 2 + 2 student pathway program emphasizing a developmental approach to teaching and learning.

“This grant will provide those interested in pursuing early childhood education an opportunity to receive resources to make it easier for them to attend classes. Oftentimes there are many impediments to obtaining a degree.  We hope this grant will help to address the chronic challenge of having qualified early childhood educators for our region,” said Chancellor Holz-Clause.

“The grant project is timely when rural Minnesota is facing challenges in employing qualified early childhood teachers in Head Start and Early Head Start programs serving communities of Native American children and families.  We are excited to have the opportunity to partner with White Earth Tribal and Community College, and not only the ability to increase qualified indigenous teachers, but also the workforce to reflect the demographics of ethnically diverse populations of students in the community” added UMN Crookston professor Soo-Yin Lim.

The grant will provide tuition expenses, computers, and equipment for Head Start Staff to attend classes through a HyFlex model of delivery in a culturally relevant setting. This collaborative partnership between White Earth Tribal & Community College, White Earth Head Start, and the University of Minnesota Crookston is anticipated to start in October.

The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) is a division of the Department of Health & Human Services. They promote the economic and social well-being of children, families, individuals and communities with leadership and resources for compassionate, effective delivery of human services. To find out more, visit their website here

About UMN Crookston

One of five campuses in the University of Minnesota System, the University of Minnesota Crookston cultivates curiosity by engaging students in hands-on learning connecting theory to practice. As the experienced leader in delivering education online, the Crookston campus offers a distinctive learning environment providing personal attention and mentorship to develop leaders, lifelong learners, and engaged citizens. Visit Crookston at 

About UMN

The University of Minnesota System, with campuses in Crookston, Duluth, Morris, Rochester, and the Twin Cities, is driven by a singular vision of excellence. We are proud of our land-grant mission of world-class education, groundbreaking research, and community-engaged outreach, and we are unified in our drive to serve Minnesota. Learn more at

Story Contact: Shawn Smith