Pine Ridge, SD (2019)

Lakota Tech

The NMTC finances a fourth school in one of the most economically distressed communities in America.


  • NMTC Amount: $23,500,000
  • Total Project Cost: $26,213,023


  • 50 FTE jobs
  • 100 construction jobs
  • 400 people served daily


Project Description

The Oglala Lakota County School District (OLCS) has a vision for its students to be able to explore their Lakota culture while gaining academic knowledge, technical skills, and professional abilities. The NMTC is playing a key role in improving educational opportunities by helping the District and its students achieve those goals. The District encompasses 2000 sq. miles and serves 22 isolated communities with high poverty rates (over 50 percent in areas), MFI of 40 percent or less and severe unemployment and social challenges. The District serves 1700 students; 97 percent are Native. Currently, only 23 percent of 8th graders graduate from high school.

To improve outcomes for students, the county constructed a new career and technical education (CTE) high school, the first of its kind in Indian Country. Students will not only learn academics but also technical and professional skills for greater employment options. The district expects to see increased graduation rates and improved job readiness because of the CTE curriculum, and the surrounding community is also expected to benefit as the students graduate high school prepared to fill job openings within the immediate community.

The school district offers CTE training through its Academies for Freshman, Business, Engineering Tech, Industrial Arts, Medical Sciences, Public Safety, and Security, and with plans for Restaurant Management and Teacher Prep curriculum. Students explore Lakota culture while gaining the skills to succeed.

The school district confirms that were it not for $23.5 million in NMTC financing from Dakotas America and U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation, this project would not have proceeded as planned. The savings realized from below-market financing helped the district preserve capital for operations and future capital improvements.

The CTE school is the most recent of a longstanding relationship between the Oglala Lakota School District, GROW South Dakota, and its subsidiary, Dakotas America. This is the fourth school financed with the credit. Altogether, the improvement and addition of these schools have increased the capacity for education across the Pine Ridge Reservation.


Address: 500 U.S. Highway 18, Pine Ridge, SD 57770

Census Tract: 46102940500

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