WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, 25th Navajo Nation Council Speaker Crystalyne Curley met with the acting U.S. Secretary of Labor Julie A. Su in Washington, D.C., to discuss priorities for workforce development including creating a Job Corps Center on the Navajo Nation.
Speaker Curley was among several tribal leaders who offered recommendations and input regarding the Department of Labor’s workforce development and apprenticeship initiatives. U.S. Department of Labor Tribal Liaison Jack Jackson, Jr. also helped to facilitate the discussion.
As the largest Indigenous tribe in the country, Speaker Curley said the Navajo Nation is striving to enhance its workforce capacity to ensure that every Navajo person has an opportunity to succeed, with or without a college degree. She also stated that the Navajo Nation has great interest in working with the Department of Labor to develop a Job Corps Center on the Navajo Nation.
“The Navajo Nation has expressed interest in opening a Job Corps Center to empower low income families and help individuals develop careers,” said Speaker Curley. “College may not be every Navajo person’s ambition, but we have many of our people who are very capable of becoming highly skilled in many trades and crafts that can benefit our communities.”
Another aspect of workforce development is keeping Navajo people and families closer to home on the Navajo Nation through employment opportunities, but also extending those opportunities to Navajo people who reside off the Nation.
Speaker Curley also noted that the Navajo Nation receives more funding than any other tribe through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act that supports the Nation’s current workforce program. She added that as a high school student years ago, she began working for the Navajo Nation Judicial Branch.
“My personal experience with the Navajo Nation’s workforce program allowed me to develop skills that have helped me throughout my career,” said Curley. “There are many upsides to the workforce development program that many Navajo people benefit from, and we want to expand those opportunities.”