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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, Kicking Horse Job Corps, 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 new program,” added Camel. 

Jennifer Finley, the Workforce Enhancement Coordinator, is assisting people with developing career “blueprints.” A blueprint can help an individual identify the skills and interests he or she already has, then complete a life inventory to look at what salary level they need to earn in order to pay their household bills, transportation, child care costs, etc. The next step involves exploring occupation interests, job availability, and training opportunities. The final step is setting goals and creating a path to reach those goals. 

This Workforce Enhancement and Entrepreneurship Initiative will help individuals achieve their goals at every level. If someone enrolls in training, the Initiative will assist with purchasing needed materials for the classes, and with transportation to and from the training. If individuals want to start a small business, Coalition members will provide technical assistance and free training. If an individual completes a career blueprint and obtains job readiness training where needed, the Initiative will pay for clothing for job interviews, uniforms and more. To sign up for the program, contact Ms. Finley at 675-2700, extension 1276 or To sign up for free business classes, contact Mrs. Camel at extension 1256 or

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