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A Bimonthly Newsletter
for Tribal Leadership

December 18, 2009

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White House Tribal Nations Conference

Photo of Secretary Solis with Sec. of Interior, Ken Salazar, and HHS Sec. Kathleen Sebelius

Secretary Hilda L. Solis participated in the Health, Education, and Labor panel alongside Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Indian Health Service Director Yvette Roubideaux, and Representative Dale Kildee at the White House Tribal Nations Conference on November 5th. The conference provided a unique opportunity for leaders of the 564 federally-recognized tribes to educate the administration on the real-life issues and situations of Tribal Nations.

Department of Labor Hosts Tribal Leaders

Photo of Deputy Secretary Seth Harris with tribal leaders

In advance of the White House Tribal Nations Conference on November 5th, the U.S. Department of Labor hosted more than two hundred tribal leaders from across the country for an unprecedented meeting. Secretary Solis and Deputy Secretary Seth Harris noted this strengthened relationship between DOL and Tribal Nations and expressed their commitment to discovering new and improved ways to address the high levels of unemployment faced by tribal peoples. Director of Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) Patricia Shiu, Assistant Secretary for the Employment and Training Administration (ETA Jane Oates, and Assistant Secretary for Veterans' Employment & Training Services (VETS) Ray Jefferson highlighted programs within DOL that are focused exclusively on tribes, including OFCCP’s TERO program and ETA’s Workforce Investment Act grant program for American Indians and Alaska Natives.

Secretary Solis also told the gathering that she will be touring Indian Country in the upcoming year to gain first-hand insight into enhancing workforce and economic development.

Tribal Green Grantees Announced

The Department announced nearly $55 million in various green job grants that will support job training and labor market information programs to help workers—many in underserved communities— find jobs in expanding green industries and related occupations. “The announcement is part of the administration's long-term commitment to fostering both immediate economic growth and a clean energy future. “It's an investment that will help American workers do well while doing good," said Secretary Solis. The Blackfeet Tribal Business Council, California Indian Manpower Consortium, and Cook Inlet Tribal Council were among the recipients of the Green Capacity Building Grants.

Developing a Tribal Consultation Policy

DOL will participate in upcoming consultation sessions aimed at carrying out the directives of President Obama’s Memorandum on Tribal Consultation. The memorandum directs federal agencies to develop, in coordination with tribal governments, a plan of action for implementation of Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments. The Labor Department will be actively seeking comments from tribal officials about best practices for ensuring that tribes are involved at each step when agencies initiate, develop and implement policies that may have tribal implications.

OFCCP Signs Memorandum with CTER

On December 10, Patricia Shiu, Director of DOL's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) joined the foremost legal minds and resource professionals from the private, tribal and public sectors in a forum at the Council for Tribal Employment Rights' (CTER) 2009 Tribal Employment Law & Legal Updates Conference in Las Vegas. Shiu discussed OFCCP’s role in Secretary Solis' vision of "good jobs for everyone" and the new, refocused agenda for OFCCP. Regional Director of OFCCP William Smitherman signed a Memorandum of Understanding designed to promote a mutually beneficial working relationship between the CTER Pacific Northwest Region and the Department. The ultimate goal is to improve the services both agencies provide to the public, especially the Indian community.

Working Women In Transition Initiative

Photo of Eunice Bennett, artisan and NANACT participant

Working Women In Transition (WWIT), an initiative spearhead by the Department’s Women’s Bureau, offers education; entrepreneurship training; local events; and regional partnership projects to expand employment opportunities for women throughout Indian Country. This year, the Women’s Bureau teamed up with the Coconino County Community Services Department, the Museum of Northern Arizona, and the National Park Service to launch the Northern Arizona Native American Culture Trail (NANACT) Web site. To date, NANACT has expanded business opportunities for more than 100 Native American women artisans by bridging the gulf between the 4.4 million visitors to the Grand Canyon area and the region's Native culture. WWIT has also provided financial training for tribal members in eastern Washington State using the Women’s Bureau “Wise-Up” curriculum and other training to enhance their employability.

Opportunities are Open

Want a career that makes a difference in the lives of working families? The U.S. Department of Labor may be the place for you. Explore the three positions below or view all the exciting and rewarding opportunities.

  1. Position in Chicago Metro Area, IL
    Program Analyst — Grade 13/13
    Close: 01/11/2009
  2. Position in Oklahoma City, OK
    Safety and Occupational Health Specialist — Grade 13/13
    Close: 08/14/2010
  3. Position in San Francisco, CA
    Workforce Program Specialist — Grade GS-0301-05/09
    Close: 12/23/2010


As part of Secretary Solis' effort to inform the public of her agenda about "Good Jobs for Everyone," DOL has launched this new tribal leadership newsletter. The bimonthly newsletter will provide information about Department initiatives geared to benefit Indian Country as well as resources to enhance employment opportunities for tribal peoples.

Nominations for Federal Advisory Committee Needed

Did you know that there are approximately 1,000 Federal Advisory Committees operating alongside the U.S. Government at any given time? At the Department of Labor, Secretary Solis oversees a Federal Advisory Committee known as the Native American Employment and Training Council. The Council is authorized under Section 166 of the Workforce Investment Act, and advises the Secretary and Department on issues related to the Employment and Training Administration’s grants for tribal communities. The Secretary is seeking to appoint ten new members from tribal communities to this committee. Individuals with expertise in the areas of secondary and post-secondary education, health care, economic development, and “green jobs” are desired. Tribal leadership should submit nominations prior to December 30th.

Willis Named Tribal Liaison

Photo of Nicole Willis, Special Assistant to Secretary Solis for Indian Affairs

As part of Secretary Solis’ goal of “Good Jobs for Everyone”, she created a tribal-specific position within her office. Special Assistant to Secretary Solis for Indian Affairs Nicole Willis (Cayuse, Nez Perce, Yakama, Oglala Lakota) comes to the Department with a background and experiences in Federal Indian Law and the advancement of tribal nations. She played an integral role with the Obama For America campaign as the First Americans Vote Deputy Director. She later joined the Presidential Inaugural Committee in its political office. In addition to her work with the Administration, Willis has spent time working with her own tribe as well as at a small law firm specializing in Indian law.

Contact Nicole Willis at 202-693-6453 or willis.nicole@dol.gov.

DOL Celebrates American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month

Photo of Secretary Solis and Indian dance performer

Throughout November, employees and members of the public had the opportunity to experience several events hosted by DOL in celebration of American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month. A photography exhibit of the Longest Walk in 1978, a display of Tribal art, and a reception featuring native foods prepared by local Job Corps students were among the array of activities that took place at the Frances Perkins Building in Washington, D.C. To culminate the month’s festivities, the Executive Director of the California Indian Manpower Consortium Lorenda Sanchez and the Deputy Director of the Indian Health Service Randy Grinnell participated in a riveting panel discussion followed by a dance performance by the Yellow Thunder Family Drum and Red Crooked Sky Dance Troupe.

We Want to Know

Questions, comments, or stories to share? Please contact willis.nicole@dol.gov.

Upcoming Deadlines & Events

Office of Public Engagement — Tribal Consultation Meetings

OFCCP — How to Prepare Construction Contractors for an OFCCP Compliance Evaluation

Retirement Planning Workshop

OFCCP — Veteran Employment Conference

Getting It Right — Know Your Fiduciary Responsibilities

OFCCP — Compliance Seminar

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