Native workforce bill moves to Senate

A bill amending 1992 Indian employment and training legislation to grant tribes certain hearing and appeal rights if the Interior Department disapproves a tribe’s request passed the House on Feb. 27 and moved to the Senate.

H.R. 228, the Indian Employment, Training and Related Services Consolidation Act of 2017, introduced by Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, would also make other revisions to the Indian Employment, Training and Related Services Demonstration Act of 1992, including treating funds transferred to a tribe as non-federal funds for purposes of meeting matching requirements.

Young said that the revisions would improve and make permanent the Tribal 477 Program, a successful Native workforce development demonstration program established by Congress in 1992.

The 477 Program allows tribes to combine employment, childcare and job training funding from a variety of federal sources and conduct consolidated, comprehensive reporting.

In addition, the bill makes improvements to accounting procedures and reporting mechanisms to uphold the original intent of the program, ensure that tribes are treated fairly, and set a foundation for participants continued success, Young said.

H.R. 228 is supported by the 477 Tribal Work Group. Eighteen Alaska Native tribes and tribal organizations currently participate in the Tribal 477 Program.