The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) and its Indian and Native American Employment Rights Program (INAERP) support federal contractors' efforts to foster outreach and inclusion of Native Americans. Below is a list of best practices and strategies to help with efforts and make your diversity and inclusion programs successful.
Indian Preference – It is not a violation of the equal employment opportunity clause if a federal contractor maintains a publicly announced Indian employment preference if it is working on or near an Indian reservation. Implementing an Indian preference policy is one of the best practices for increasing Native American representation in the workforce. Visit OFCCP's Indian and Native American Employment Rights Program webpage for answers to frequently asked questions and other guidance regarding when and how to implement Indian Preference.
Utilize INAERP Recruitment Services – INAERP can assist your company in its affirmative action efforts by researching Native American recruitment sources to match the unique employment needs of your organization. Contact INAERP at OFCCP-INAERP@dol.gov to learn more about this service.
Collaborate with Tribal Employment Rights Organizations – Tribal Employment Rights Organizations (TEROs) use education and synergistic partnering principles to create mutually beneficial relationships with employers working on or near Indian reservations. TEROs are an invaluable resource for contractors seeking skilled job applicants and are subject matter experts on the laws and customs of their respective tribe. INAERP can assist with connecting you to a local TERO representative.
Request a Subject Matter Expert to Conduct Sensitivity Training - As your workforce becomes more diverse, invite a local tribal representative to conduct sensitivity training explaining the customs and traditions of their respective tribe. A TERO representative can assist you with your request.
Network with Tribal Colleges and Universities – With 37 accredited Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) in the United States, federal contractors can tap into a pipeline to approximately 30,000 full-time and part-time students seeking post-secondary education in over 350 educational programs, including apprenticeships, certificates, associates, and bachelor's degrees.
Establish Relationships with Urban Indian Centers to Use as a Recruitment Source – With approximately 75% of the Native American population living off reservations, urban Indian centers serve as another key recruitment resource for contractors that are looking for job applicants with varying backgrounds, education levels, and skill sets.
Comprehensive and Welcoming Self-ID Programs – It is critical that employers create an environment in which applicants and employees are comfortable self-identifying to effectively measure the success of affirmative action efforts. Including Native Americans in job advertisements and on company websites in a culturally respectful manner will increase the likelihood of participation in corporate self-identification programs.
Sustain Long-term Relationships – Tribes value trust and patience when fostering relationships. Set realistic goals when working with tribal organizations by acknowledging that it may take a long-term investment to see measurable results.
Reconsider Employment Tests – Companies frequently utilize standardized employment tests to screen applicants for qualifications. Native Americans are often sensitive to these types of tests for historically denying their elders access to education and employment. When possible, use other methods to screen candidates for necessary job qualifications.
Create Native American Employee Resource Groups – Employee Resource Groups (ERG) offer employees the opportunity to network, address shared issues and concerns, and receive support from fellow Native Americans. Encourage senior leadership to attend regular meetings and offer their time and resources as mentors.
Coordinate with Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies – Many tribes have their own vocational rehabilitation agencies that assist tribal members with disabilities in their efforts to find, secure and retain gainful employment. These organizations are an invaluable resource for successfully matching an individual's skills with jobs.
Locate American Job Centers on the CareerOneStop – Many American Job Centers are located on or near tribal communities. These centers offer numerous resources to assist your business in its affirmative action efforts to recruit, hire, train, and retain Native Veterans and Native Americans in general. They also provide job seekers free help for finding employment.
Look Beyond Statistics – Federal contractors routinely evaluate employment data for adverse impact against minority race groups. Frequently, they overlook Native Americans in statistical analyses because their representation is only 1% of the U.S. population. Take a broader look at your facility or organization to determine if Native American representation is indicative of those qualified to perform jobs in the relevant recruitment area.
Consider Access to the Internet – Access to high-speed internet is one of the biggest challenges facing Indian Country. Your company's usual methods of digital recruitment may not reach potential applicants on many reservations where access to the internet is non-existent or extremely limited. Consider placing advertisements in tribal newsletters and on tribal radio stations to reach potential job applicants.
Engage Tribal Stakeholders for Recruitment – Engage tribal leadership and other tribal stakeholders to be advocates for your company by helping them understand your corporate values and company recruitment and selection processes. Ask them to join you as ambassadors at TCU recruitment fairs, to sit in on corporate interview panels, and encourage their input when developing corporate cultural sensitivity training.
U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) – BIA's mission is to enhance the quality of life, to promote economic opportunity, and to carry out the responsibility to protect and improve the trust assets of American Indians, Indian tribes and Alaska Natives.
Tribal Leaders Directory – Managed by BIA, this directory and interactive map provides a user-friendly resource for connecting with tribal leaders across the country.
U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) Office of Tribal Government Relations (OTGR) – The VA's OTGR works to strengthen and build closer relations between the VA, tribal governments and other key federal, state, private and non-profit partners in an effort to effectively and respectfully serve Veterans across Indian Country.
U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, Division of Indian and Native American Programs (DINAP) – DINAP provides quality employment and training services to Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Section 166 Indian and Native American (INA) grantees. These grantees include tribes, tribal organizations, Alaska Native entities, Indian controlled organizations and Native Hawaiian organizations that help individuals to become economically self-sufficient through employment and job training programs.
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Native American Affairs – The Office of Native American Affairs' mission is to ensure that American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians seeking to create, develop and expand small businesses have full access to the necessary business development and expansion tools.
American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Training and Technical Assistance Center (AIVRTTAC) – AIVRTTAC was developed by the Northern Arizona University, Institute for Human Development, through grant assistance from the U.S Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. There are currently over 80 American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Services (AIVRS) programs located on tribal lands in 25 states. These programs serve tribal members with disabilities by preparing them for gainful employment and matching them with employment opportunities. AIVRTTAC maintains a digital map with contact information for these AIVRS programs.
CareerOneStop – CareerOneStop, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, helps job seekers overcome employment barriers, find career and training opportunities, and provides numerous job search resources. CareerOneStop can help your business locate American Job Centers on or near tribal lands to assist in your search to find qualified Native American applicants.
Native American Program Finder – Search employment and training programs for Native Americans sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration's Division of Indian and Native American Programs (DINAP). These programs are designed to enhance the academic, occupational, and literacy skills of Native Americans in accordance with the goals and values of their native communities.
Council for Tribal Employment Rights (CTER) – CTER is a community-based Indian owned and operated non-profit organization comprised of and represents the interests of over 300 tribal and Alaska Native villages that are covered by employment rights ordinances (TERO).
Tribal Colleges and Universities – Locate accredited Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) across the U.S. and learn about campus academic offerings as well as student life. TCUs allow Native students to take their first steps towards earning a degree on or near their reservations, offering a learning environment where the culture, traditions, and experiences of Native people are welcome and understood.
American Indigenous Business Leaders (AIBL) – The mission of AIBL is to increase the representation of American Indians and Alaska Natives in business and entrepreneurial ventures through education and leadership development opportunities.
Native American Contractors Association (NACA) – NACA is a 501(c)6 trade association, seeking to enrich self-determination through preservation and enhancement of government contracting participation based on the unique relationship between Native Americans and the federal government.
The contents of this document do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public in any way. This document is intended only to provide ideas that may help federal contractors meet their equal employment opportunity obligations.