PABLO — The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes’ (CSKT) Economic Development Office continues to work on projects that need input from Tribal members. All are invited to attend our monthly economic development meetings on the third Monday of each month at 1:30 p.m. to discuss ways to improve employment opportunities for Tribal members and how we can improve the Flathead Reservation economy. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we meet online.  Please send an e-mail to Janet Camel at janet.camel@cskt.org if you’d like to attend.

“We are entering our final year of the Tribes’ Workforce Enhancement and Entrepreneurship Initiative to address barriers to employment and to help people find living-wage employment and the training they need to reach their career goals,” said Janet Camel, Project Director. 

“Our Office also received additional grant funds from the Northwest Area Foundation to complete our Vibrant Tribal Economies project with the goal of creating and supporting more local businesses and jobs that can lead to a sustainable Flathead Reservation economy. We want the millions of dollars that are earned here on the reservation to recirculate to reservation businesses by encouraging people to ‘BUY LOCAL’ whenever possible.” 

Partnerships with Salish Kootenai College, Lake County Community Development Corporation, Job Service Polson, and other entities are helping to provide free or low-cost training for tribal members who are looking for employment or want to start or expand a business. Training is also available for people interested in a hospitality career or being a health care provider and we are starting a building trades training program at SKC this Spring.

“Tribal members, reservation employers and service providers are welcome to join us as we continue to develop job creation strategies and work on recruiting participants to take advantage of this program and promote a Buy Local campaign,” added Camel. “These efforts are especially critical during the COVID-19 pandemic which has affected many local businesses and employment opportunities.” 

Jennifer Finley, the Workforce Enhancement Coordinator, is assisting job seekers with developing career “blueprints.” A blueprint can help an individual identify the skills and interests he or she already has, then identify occupation interests, job availability, and training opportunities. The final step is setting goals and creating a plan to reach those goals.

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, Initiative coalition partners will provide technical assistance and free training. If an individual completes a career blueprint and obtains job readiness training where needed (including work toward a high school equivalency certificate or HiSET), the Initiative will pay for the HiSET test fee, clothing for job interviews, uniforms and more. To sign up for the program, contact Jennifer at 675-2700, extension 1276 or jennifer.finley@cskt.org. If you have already signed up, contact Jennifer to complete a 6-month or 12-month follow-up survey and receive a $50 stipend.

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