Jun 07 2012

Rep. Noem Improves Job Training Opportunities for Native Americans in Workforce Investment Improvement Act

Noem Amendment to Support Native American Job Training Programs Approved with Bipartisan Support

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Education and Workforce Committee today approved with bipartisan support an amendment authored by Rep. Kristi Noem aimed at securing additional job training opportunities for Native Americans in South Dakota and around the nation. Noem, a member of the Education and Workforce Committee, offered the amendment to the Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012. The legislation aims to help address our nation’s high unemployment rate by providing Americans with a more dynamic and effective network of job training services. Rep. Noem’s amendment would increase the amount of job training funds that can be set aside for Native Americans from one to two percent of Workforce Investment Funds. These funds would go directly to tribes for employment and training service programs.

“While South Dakota’s unemployment rate is about half the national average, it’s a different story for many parts of Indian Country. Unemployment rates on reservations located in South Dakota range from 12 percent to over 80 percent,” said Rep. Noem. “This is astonishing and clearly shows we can do better for Indian Country. Increasing job training programs is one effective way to do that.”

During consideration of her amendment, Noem highlighted Lakota Foods on the Lower Brule reservation and Native American Natural Foods on the Pine Ridge reservation and said they were examples of success stories that can be duplicated in Indian Country.

The top three most impoverished counties in the nation are in South Dakota, according to the latest numbers by the U.S. Census Bureau. These counties are all located on or near one of the nine Indian reservations in South Dakota. Job training programs provide education and skills training that help ensure workers are more competitive in the workforce.

The federal government administers roughly 47 job training programs across nine agencies. The Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012 aims to streamline ineffective and redundant programs while ensuring vital job training programs are being implemented with accountability. To learn more about the Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012, click here.

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