Tribal government and union working to get tribal citizens on career paths

Indian Country Today reports that the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapahoe Tribes recently announced that 50 Native trainees from the Wind River and other reservations have gone through the Permanent Jobs Creation Initiative, and that 47 have received jobs with a union contractor providing a career path to a better future for them and their families.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for our people,” said Ivan Posey, chairman of the Eastern Shoshone Tribe. “We do quite a bit of construction, but those dollars flow away from the reservation, we want to capture them and make them work for us, so we need our members to be trained and skilled.”

Implemented six months ago with funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (www.recovery.gov), the Permanent Jobs Creation Initiative has created a unique cooperative agreement between the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapahoe Tribes; the Native American Construction Training Management, Inc.; All-State Fire Protection; and Road Local 669 Sprinkler Fitters of the United Association Plumber, Fitters, Welders and HVAC Service Tech; and the U.S. Department of the Interiors’, Office of the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs.

This joint effort among diverse entities spurs economic development and alleviates unemployment, poverty and a sense of no future by leveraging the tremendous potency of the construction industry.

Although, Sprinkler Fitters were the first, it’s the Tribes’ intention to work with all the building and trade unions and other union contractors because they can provide a system that is conducive to our tribal culture and needs of our members.

It is estimated that in the future, the construction industry on reservations across America alone represents a $450 billion bonanza for those tribes capable of capturing the dollars and recycling them throughout their communities will see their economies grow like a wildfire.

“In the past, when construction jobs came to our reservations we had the numbers but they had no skills so jobs went to others,” said John Wadda, 477 Employment and Training office, Eastern Shoshone Tribe. “We plan to have a trained workforce ready, able and willing to meet those needs this is a good step forward.”

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