Fort Peck Community College
Top Line View of the Economic Impact of FPCC

The Fort Peck Community College (FPCC) is an accredited Tribally chartered Community College. The college is a leader in facilitating the partnerships and collaboration  for a  commitment to sustained economic development. The diversity and leadership that FPCC demonstrates in the community is  reflected in its Board of Directors. The BOD includes representatives from Tribal government, private business, education and the student senate. The college is a major employer for a scholastically and technically advanced staff and faculty. Dr. Shanley has methodically developed a support staff to compliment his  faculty. The college has actively recruited and selected individuals that bring experience from Fortune 500 companies, Technology Certified Instructors, Tribal Economic Planners, General Contractors with experience in design and facility expansion and former directors of Community Development Organizations.  With an annual operating budgeting of $6 million, the college provides $725,299 in financial assistance, from the Tribal Community College Act they receive $1.3 million in BIA/ISC funding, and the schools grant management workload is up to  $8 million dollars. The $2.5 million annual payroll   is for the 115 employees who make up the institutions faculty, staff and part-time support.

Involvement and leadership for economic and social development has been a primary focus and is a directive by the President of the College. The FPCC Board, President Shanley and college staff serve on or advisors to the Fort Peck Tribal Council, The Governors Economic Development Commission, Senator Baucus Tribal Development Task Force, Tribal Business & Industries, Community Development Organizations and special initiatives for transportation, housing and wellness. 

Technical support and Access to capital

Designated as a National Center for Excellence (NCE) the college provides or facilitates workshops or services on strategic planning, technical assistance, business development and internship opportunities. The resources for the NCE are leveraged with the services of the college's Tribal Business Information Center (TBIC). The SBA and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to enhance entrepreneurial development on Indian reservations originally established the TBIC. Its mission is to provide tribal communities with state-of-the-art business development resources, training, technical assistance, and counseling, workshops and support services. The TBIC is an extension of the Community Services of the College.

The CBAC has been averaging approximately 60 clients per month, with 25% of them being new clients. The TBIC provides over 900 hours per year in technical assistance counseling to local entrepreneurs and organizations. The center administers the Johnson Entrepreneurial program that provides scholarships to FPCC students interested in operating a small business. 

The TBIC administers a Rural Housing and Economic Development (RHED) grant for the Fort Peck Tribes.  This grant has allowed for the formation of the Fort Peck Marketing Coalition, which is made up of tribal businesses and industries, to collectively promote the goods and services available from each entity.  Public relations materials are being produced and new industries are actively being pursued.

The TBIC is actively involved in social, community and economic development efforts with local economic development organizations. Partnerships and shared sources currently exist with the  Missouri Valley Development Corporation (MVDC), Great Northern Development Corporation (GNDC), the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Rural Finance & Development Corporation (RFDC), the Montana Department of Commerce, the Fort Peck Tribes, and local community organizations. Clients of the TBIC have access to lending institutions that are conducive for access to capital for  the traditionally underserved Native American Entrepreneur. Loans have been  made possible by the TBIC for manufacturing, convenience store start-up and expansion, Arts & Craft retail, landscaping, glass blowing, legal services, jewelry, auto motive parts business and ranching. The TBIC is currently partnering with the Ft. Belknap Business Incubator to build micro-loan capacities that will increase the opportunity for expansion and creation of new business in Indian Country. Due to the efforts of the college and the TBIC specifically local employment opportunities from expansion, growth and start-up total in the hundreds.

Employment impact via the self-sufficient skills of the FPCC Building Trades Department.

The Building Trades Division of the college has been provided hundreds of jobs and competitive wages for the local students and tradesman.  The aggressive five-year plan of the college has impacted the employment, skill development and educational opportunities for the labor force of the entire region. Traditionally headquartered in Poplar, the college was recently awarded funding to build new facilities in Wolf Point.  The $1.5 million dollar satellite campus for Wolf Point will be under construction with in the next year. The multi-million dollar campus renovation in Poplar has been in progress for the last three years.  The main labor force for the renovations, new buildings and outsourcing services has been the students of the colleges building trades department. This past year the new  Titoka Tibi/Log cabin was built under the direction of Building Trades Director, Noel Sansaver.  The million-dollar facility was built primarily by the carpentry students of FPCC and is now open for business. Its retail services include Arts & Crafts from local vendors, a comprehensive text inventory and an apparel department.  A covered deck on the front of the Tibi is used for spring/summer craft exhibitions and is an excellent retail venue for the local artisans. Upwards of forty tradesmen worked on the facility.

The college also tackled the huge undertaking in renovating the old Tribal building into a state of the art administrative/classroom facility (Greet the Dawn Building). The auditorium of the  Greet the Dawn has been home to numerous economic strategic planning sessions, workshops and community events for the Tribes, community organizations, county, state and federal leaders. Upwards of fifty tradesmen worked on completing the facility.

The community service arm of the college operates the The Day Tibi Wellness Center. It provides employment for twenty trained and support staff.  The college is currently in collaboration with the Assiniboine & Sioux Tribal Enterprise Community for the feasibility and construction of two new wellness/community centers for Poplar and Wolf Point. This undertaking would impact business recruitment, professional development and of course the employment from building and operating the facilities.

An articulation agreement currently in place with the fiduciary leaders for the Indian Health Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Fort Peck Tribes will ensure the students and graduates of the trades programs will be active in the planning, construction and renovation of community facilities for the long term. In the new building phase for the college there is plans for an 8,000-sq/ ft. voc-ed building. The college will be consolidating the department programs for heavy equipment operators, welding, carpentry and automotive.  Certification of these programs enables perspective students to become employable in the local economy. Other construction under way is a new college day care center and the on-going process of renovating the current buildings of the campus facilities.

USDA Extension Program partners with Fort Peck Community College to explore Value-Added crops

Provides the training needed to promote agriculture as a meaningful and productive way of utilizing the reservation land base and coordinates other Land Grant activities.

FPCC and USDA have partnered to provide the training needed to promote agricultural as a meaningful and productive way of utilizing the reservation land base and coordinates other Land Grant activities. The objective is to increase the profitability of the agriculture sector through the development of new crop and livestock products, expansion of market opportunities  (new national and international markets) and especially, the development of value-added agriculture processing

Global Ag: Though the participation in the Global Ag Project with MSU Bozeman and Dull Knife Memorial College. There were a total of 3 courses offered, with a total of 10 participants. These participants were part of 3 different international agriculture tours.  As a result, FPCC is exploring other opportunities in International Agriculture including exporting locally grown products. Due to the success of the program MSU is looking to add an international agriculture component to their curriculum. The college has delegated Jodi Smith, the Extension Director and FPCC Staff employee to India to market a high yield crop (Chick a Pea). Northeastern Montana soil is ideal for this value added crop. Jodi is part of a farm and ranch background. This venture could open up an enormous market potential for local farmers.

The Fort Peck Reservation is designated and Enterprise Community

The college is an active facilitator and partner in long range planning with Tribal and community development organizations. The college is a non-political liaison with which  true economic and social growth can take place. A prime example of their initiative and ownership of moving the community forward is the Assiniboine & Sioux Tribal Enterprise Community. During the 3 year strategic planning process, more than 300 American Indian and non-Indian residents of the Fort Peck Reservation came together at the college and college sponsored community meetings to visualize their dreams of building and sustaining ideal communities. The college hired a grant writer and provided the staff to assimilate and prepare the application that would be submitted along with two hundred other proposals from competing communities. The in-kind and direct support was the sole foundation of making the vision a reality. 

The visions of the college and the community not only included full-employment at livable wages, but they also included a strong infrastructure that supported families so parents could work: youth development to inspire innovation and leadership, environmental stewardship to retain the pristine land of the Fort Peck Reservations; and affordable housing that ensures all residents have to access to home ownership. On December of 24, 1998 a geographic zone with-in the boundary of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation was designated an Enterprise Community. Dan Glickman, Secretary of Agriculture and Al Gore, Vice- President of the United States officially conferred it, by the authority of President Bill Clinton under the Presidential Empowerment Zone/Enterprise Community Initiative. Through 2001 the EC has leveraged or given letters of support for over $43 million in projects for construction, technology and the industries on the reservation. The universal vision statement approved by the Fort Peck Community College and the EC commission guides the implementation of the strategic plan.

Sample goals and objectives from the two-year strategic plan are as follows;


  • To create and sustain partnerships among the government, public and private sectors that will collaborate, along with individual residents, on the implementation of a multi-faceted plan for the economic growth and revitalization of the Fort Peck Community.  Active Benchmarks/Results:
  • Partnered with Indian Health Service, FPCC, Tribal Council, City Council and the private sector to study the feasibility and financial planning for Community/Wellness Centers in  Poplar and Wolf Point. The college provides the expertise for functional design studies, operational cost models and the current model from which the college operates their wellness centers.
  • To create and maintain safe, attractive and economically stable residential neighborhoods throughout the reservation that provides affordable housing opportunities to Fort Peck residents. The Enterprise Community works with the FPCC Building Trades Division, Fort Housing Authority, Fannie Mae, HUD and the USDA to leverage set aside and existing resources to finance and construct single and multi-family dwellings. 
  • Health care providers will collaborate through formal agreements and partnerships, as well as informal dialogue, designed to eliminate duplication of services, meet gaps in care, etc. The college and EC have partnered with Public, Tribal and Indian Health Service to consolidate and collaborate with existing and contractual services.
  • To create, support and sustain a diverse cultural and recreational environment that celebrates the people and the character of the region. Economic development activities will be consistent with traditional values; tourism development will reflect the history and culture of the Assiniboine and Sioux peoples. A tribally owned bison herd has been brought back to the reservation. It has generated employment and will derive income from Tourism as well as the sale of livestock, meat, hides and other by-products. The EC was awarded grant funds from Travel Montana to develop river access for recreation on the Missouri. With the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial in two years the access sites will attract a greater share of the millions that will come through the trail.
  • To create and sustain a diverse, viable, self sufficient and stable economy that provides meaningful job opportunities for all Fort Peck residents.  Reservation businesses have realized increased commercial activity and reduced financial management costs by adopting new technology in the area and financial management. The EC has combined with the college to provide direct financial and technical assistance to A&S Tribal Industries, Looking Eagle Manufacturing and West Electronics. The combined work force for these high wage employers has grown to 130 employees.