Among the first projects of its kind to be built on Native American reservation lands, the 39,000 SF Against the Current Career Academy offers Umóⁿhoⁿ Nation Public Schools (UNPS) students opportunities to earn a certificate and immersive, hands-on job skills while attending high school.
The Academy is built onto the existing UNPS school and features a pathways model, giving students the option to choose from career tracks including CNA/nursing, culinary arts, construction, automotive, entrepreneurship/business, and early childhood education. Most importantly, it gives the tribe’s young people a chance to thrive locally as young, career-ready adults with technical skills that are needed within their home community.
The new space is the largest of its kind in northeast Nebraska. It boasts a 300-seat auditorium, an infant and toddler daycare, a store devoted to school merchandise and local artists/vendors, a cafe, and six fully equipped, professional-quality career laboratories (one for each of the career tracks). Additional space includes four flexible classrooms, new administrative offices and board room, restrooms to serve the new facility, an elevator, and building tie-ins across both levels of the existing school.
In addition to filling the workforce gap within the tribal community by equipping students with real-world, in-demand skills, it also provides immediate outlets for civic assets that previously did not exist in Macy: the café and retail store are accessible to members of the community who, until the project’s completion, had no local options for dining or retail.
The Umóⁿhoⁿ people are known traditionally as “those going against the current,” and this facility promises to be the vessel that carries its young people upstream.