TAHLEQUAH, Okla. - The Cherokee Nation was recently awarded a $3.7 million Job-Driven Nation Emergency Grant to provide training for workers who have lost their jobs in high-demand industries.
Cherokee Nation, the only tribal government recipient, joins 32 states and Puerto Rico as a recipient of the two-year grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, which awarded a total of $155 million.
"The best way to help our unemployed citizens is to help them get back to work as soon as possible. That's why it is so important to equip Cherokee Nation citizens with the training and skill sets that employers in Oklahoma are searching for," said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker. "These funds support the tribe's workforce department's capacity to deliver critical job training to hundreds of Cherokees."
The grant allows the tribe's Career Services department to develop new programs to help long-term dislocated workers and those likely to exhaust their unemployment with work-based training.
A new welding apprenticeship with the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers Union will give participants the opportunity to earn a year's worth of apprenticeship credit in a 10-week program.
The grant also allows for existing programs to be expanded. An additional 100 spots will open for both on-the-job training and vocational training. Overall, the grant will give more than 300 citizens the opportunity to obtain necessary skills to fill in-demand jobs.
"Our offices are contacted more and more each month from long-term unemployed individuals seeking our services for assistance," said Diane Kelley, Cherokee Nation Career Services executive director. "This grant is a big step in the right direction in order to expand our services throughout our 14-county tribal jurisdiction. Our goal is to find jobs for as many people as we possibly can."
Cherokee Nation is partnering with area businesses and employers in the fields of health care, office support, education and construction. Some partners include Cherokee Nation Businesses, as well as Cherokee Nation's child care facilities and health services.
Enrollment for qualified individuals is now open. Participants must be members of a federally recognized tribe and reside within the Cherokee Nation's 14-county jurisdiction.
For more information, contact Career Services at 918-453-5555.