The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes received funding from the Administration for Native Americans (ANA) to complete a five-year, $996,000 Sustainable Workforce Enhancement and Entrepreneurship Initiative.
“We are honored to receive this highly competitive award from ANA,” said Janet Camel, Project Director. “This Initiative builds upon the data we gathered in 2014 about the local economy, and Tribal members’ career goals, and job and training needs. Tribal members may remember the survey we sent out that included a $2 bill. We are using the responses from that survey to guide this project—to address barriers to employment and to help people find living-wage employment and the training they need to reach their career goals. We want to reduce the high unemployment rate that Native Americans experience here—a rate that is double the rate that non-native people experience.
“Partnerships with Salish Kootenai College, the Tribal Education Department, Lake County Community Development Corporation, Job Service Polson, and other entities are helping us provide free or low-cost training. Our Coalition of partners meets the third Monday of every month at the Tribal Complex. Tribal members and Reservation employers and service providers are welcome to join us as we develop the project and work on recruiting participants to take advantage of this program,” added Camel.
Jennifer Finley, the Workforce Enhancement Coordinator, is assisting people with developing career “blueprints.” A blueprint describes employment goals and the steps needed to find employment. If an individual is interested in more in-depth career planning, the blueprint can help an individual identify the skills and interests he or she already has, complete a life inventory to look at what salary one needs to earn in order to pay household bills, transportation, child care costs, etc. The next step can involve exploring occupation interests, job availability, and training opportunities. The final step is setting goals and creating a path to reach those goals.