CATCHING THE DREAM
Throughout the United States, Native communities suffer from a lack of qualified professionals—teachers, engineers, doctors, communication specialists, business managers, social workers, and technicians. Well-paying jobs exist in Indian communities, but few Indians are prepared to fill them. Hospitals, dental clinics, schools, engineering and agricultural projects, all remain understaffed and seriously unable to meet community needs.
A prime reason for the lack of qualified Indian professionals is the poor state of Native American education today. The high school dropout rate for Indians is 50%, more than twice the rate for the nation as a whole. Of the Indian students who finish high school, only 17% attend college, with the majority attending public, two-year community colleges. Few Native Americans attend four-year colleges, and less than one percent attend the nation’s top Ivy League colleges.
Catching the Dream seeks to address this deficiency. Our high-priority areas of study are math, engineering, science, business, education, and computers. These fields of study are critical to the future of Indian people and the nation, and Native Americans are very underrepresented in these fields.
Catching the Dream is a national Native American education and scholarship center. Our strategy is to:
Actively seek out Native American high school students with academic potential from all regions and tribes of the United States and help prepare them for college;
Encourage and assist Native American high schools to establish college preparatory programs.
Establish information-sharing networks and national training sessions for teachers and administrators to strengthen their college preparatory programs;
Orient parents, grandparents, and tribal leaders so they can provide effective support for their college-bound students.
Catching the Dream works in collaboration with other groups concerned with improving Native American education, for example, with two-year tribal colleges by helping qualified graduates further their education. CTD provides supplementary scholarship funding for those students who have received financial assistance from other sources. Once we select students, they are guaranteed funding for four years and beyond, should they go on to earn graduate degrees.
Over 85% of Catching the Dream’s scholarship recipients have earned college degrees, and 85% have returned to work in tribal communities.