The U.S. Department of Labor announced that it is awarding 166 Indian and Native American tribes and organizations $70.8 million in grant funding.
The money will help provide employment and training initiatives to low-income and unemployed community members in specific Native American or Indigenous tribes and organizations.
Details about the U.S. Department of Labor Grant Money
The funds from the federal government were allocated to help Alaska Natives, Native Americans, and Native Hawaiians compete in today’s workforce.
About $56 million of the grant money is to be put towards low-income and unemployed adults recognized as American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian.
Further, the other roughly $14 million is to be allocated to low-income American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian youth between 14 and 24 years old living on or near Indian reservations.
Lastly, the money was given to federally recognized tribes, Native American non-profits, and Native Hawaiian and Alaska Native organizations.
The $70 million in government funding intends to create opportunities that will lead to middle-class careers for Native Americans and Indigenous people.
That said, this issue is especially prevalent, as Native Americans have a higher percentage of their population living in underserved communities. In terms of the grant money, it will fund services related to academics, occupational skills, and literacy skills needed for the current workforce.
Additionally, the services will promote economic development based on a community’s specific goals.
Why Government Funding is Necessary
U.S. funding is absolutely necessary for Native American and Indigenous communities. Throughout history, these communities have experienced higher unemployment rates compared to the general population.
For example, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the unemployment rate in Native communities was 28.6%, double that of the rest of the population. In December 2021, Native Americans saw an unemployment rate of 7.9%, while the general population recorded a 3.9% unemployment rate.
One factor that has led to higher unemployment in Native communities is a lack of employment and educational opportunities in or near Indian reservations. This is one of the biggest challenges tied to tribal well-being in today’s climate.
Therefore, the fact that the federal government is taking the initiative to provide relief for this issue is significant. As a result, Native American and Indigenous people in struggling areas have a better chance of improving their lives through educational and occupational opportunities.