TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Nation is investing an additional $29 million in the next three years to help CN citizens negatively impacted by COVID-19 receive job training in skilled trades including health care, construction, child care and information technology.
Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. announced the initiative as part of the second anniversary of the CN Career Readiness Act, which he and Deputy Chief Bryan Warner proposed in 2019 and later signed into law after passage by the Tribal Council, states a CN press release.
“To my core, I truly believe that the Cherokee people want to work, they just need a government that has their back. I believe we ought to live in a society in which people who are willing to work hard, regardless of what skill they want to develop, that their hard work ought to be rewarded,” Hoskin said. “When that occurs, families prosper, and as a result our communities prosper.”
Hoskin said that with the act funding to train CN citizens various skills doubled to $2 million per year. He added that in 2020 the tribe leveraged federal COVID recovery funds to stretch that to $7 million and as a result, saw “more Cherokees finding great opportunities for education and on-the-job training.”
“I am proud that we will now make an additional $29 million investment into the Career Readiness Act over the next three years and ensure that Cherokees who want to work do indeed have a government that has their back,” he said. “And as we grow and train the workforce of this region, we will make a dramatic impact on the economy here across the Cherokee Nation reservation in unprecedented ways.”
Under the Career Readiness Act, hundreds of CN citizens have received vocational assistance through CN Career Services during the past two years, the release states.
“For Cherokee citizens who choose to go to a college or university, the Cherokee Nation has long offered assistance through scholarships and other services,” Warner said. “Higher education is a fantastic investment to support and I am proud of the work we have done in that regard. But not all Cherokees want to take that path. Some of the best-paying jobs – many of them considered jobs of the future – are in skilled trades that can only be learned through vocational training or career technology programs. That’s why this $29 million injection of federal American Rescue Plan Act funds in northeast Oklahoma is such a major game-changer for our communities.”
According to the release, participants who qualify for the training opportunity funded by the American Rescue Plan Act must be CN citizens living in the CN reservation or a contiguous county whose boundary touches the reservation border.
“Opening this opportunity to counties that border the Cherokee Nation reservation means we will be able to help a number of at-large Cherokee citizens who live in bordering counties in northwest Arkansas, southwest Missouri and southeast Kansas,” said Hoskin. “This means our investment will reach even farther and provide a boost to many more Cherokee families over the next three years.”
According to the release, the $29 million boost will assist CN citizens who have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic through loss of a job or through under-employment. Training programs include sectors such as construction trades, information technology, HVAC, health care, graphic design, hospitality, facilities maintenance, medical billing and coding, welding, commercial driver’s license, electrical, culture and tourism, and security.
The tribe may also connect participants to Career Services tribal training programs such as business technology, building trades, surgery technology, tribal nursing program or child care certification trainings.
To learn more, call 918-453-5555 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.