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The Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan in Sault Ste. Marie. The Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan in Sault Ste. Marie. PHOTO FROM FACEBOOK

7 Michigan tribes, tribal entities receive $1M in federal workforce training funding

BY Tuesday, August 23, 2022 12:54pm

Seven Native American tribes and tribal entities in Michigan have received more than $1 million in U.S. Department of Labor funding to provide workforce development services to low-income adults and youth.

The Michigan grants are part of $70.8 million in funding to 166 Indigenous and Native American entities across the United States to help create pathways to middle-class careers. The funding will support academic, occupational and literary skills development that will help Native Americans compete in the workforce.

More than $56.3 million of the federal funding will serve low-income and unemployed American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians, while the remaining funding will serve residents aged 14 to 24.

The largest recipient in Michigan is the nonprofit Michigan Indian Employment and Training Services Inc., which has offices in Muskegon and Grand Rapids and will receive $326,319 to support adult workforce training.

The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians will receive $170,421 for adult workforce training and $19,702 for youth training.

Other recipients in Michigan are:

  • North American Indian Association of Detroit Inc., which received $165,405 for adult training;
  • Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians, which received $141,849 for adult training;
  • Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan Inc., a consortium of the 12 federally recognized tribes in the state, which received $96,066 for adult training and $29,688 for youth training;
  • Southeastern Michigan Indians Inc., which received received $76,082 for adult training; and
  • Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, which received $32,018 for adult training.

The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) in 2020 issued a series of policy recommendations for the federal government to help empower tribal workforce development. The legislative and administrative recommendations include calls to “drastically” increase funding for tribal workforce development, strengthen technical assistance, and elevate tribal priorities within the Department of Labor.

“Three decades of research by NCAI and others confirms that tribal self-determination/self-governance is the only policy that has ever worked in improving Native people’s lives and the quality of life in tribal communities,” according to the NCAI report. “Nowhere does this finding ring more true than with workforce development. Ultimately, achieving workforce development ‘success’ depends on what tribal nations do.”

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