Twenty-two Certified to Help American Indians Improve Workplace Skills

The twenty-two newly-certified instructors for the Workin’ with Tradition workplace skills training program

The twenty-two newly-certified instructors for the Workin’ with Tradition workplace skills training program

Source: Native News Network

PIERRE, SOUTH DAKOTA – Twenty-two individuals from five South Dakota reservations were certified as course instructors for “Workin’ with Tradition,” a training program that helps individuals in rural Native American communities prepare for successful employment. The instructor certification course was sponsored by the South Dakota Indian Business Alliance, a group of community partners dedicated to growing Indian business throughout the state.

“Because of the way the reservation system was initially set up, Native communities had not had any kind of economy to speak of for several generations. Now we are starting to see businesses sprout up, and we have a new set of challenges to deal with,” says Stacey LaCompte, Standing Rock Sioux, SDIBA Secretary/Treasurer, who helped administer the training. With unemployment rates documented as high as 85 percent in some South Dakota reservation communities, business owners struggle in their hiring efforts due to a lack of qualified candidates.

“Economic development in Indian Country is not solely about helping businesses start up. The “Workin’ with Tradition” workshop is addressing the next step – after businesses grow to the point where they need to hire employees,” says LaCompte.

Many business owners in reservation communities that find it difficult to recruit and retain experienced employees are also having a hard time maintaining any growth their company experiences, and that impact extends out into the larger economy.

“The simple fact is that reservations just don’t have a history that has invested in their workforce, so this workshop is turning that around.” LaCompte continued.

The newly-certified instructors, who are from various non-profit organizations, tribal and state programs, and other employers, will be able to deliver the “Workin’ with Tradition” course in order to help individuals develop the interpersonal skills necessary for entering into and advancing in the workforce. Seven of the workshop participants received scholarships from SDIBA to help with the costs of the certification and have committed to delivering a total of at least nine workshops within their respective communities over the next year.

“This training brought out a lot of confidence in the participants. I noticed people turning from shy to assertive. If this training can give the working class confidence, can you imagine what it will do for the job-seekers?” says LaCompte.

The “Workin’ with Tradition” curriculum is part of the nationally recognized “Workin’ It Out” program developed by Dr. Steve Parese. “Workin’ with Tradition” was developed in partnership with Dr. Steve Parese and Opportunity Link, a non-profit organization with a focus on community development, with input from Montana’s Blackfeet Nation, Chippewa Cree Tribe, and the Fort Belknap Indian Community.

The curriculum is designed to address the unique challenges American Indians job-seekers face on and off reservations while maintaining the integrity of their Native culture. The “Workin’ with Tradition” instructor certification program is now being delivered throughout the country.

SAIGE Announces Youth Program at 10th Annual National Training Program


The Society of American Indian Government Employees (SAIGE) is a national non-profit organization that advocates for American Indian and Alaska Native Government employees. SAIGE will host their 10th annual National Training Program, Guiding Our Destiny with Heritage and Traditions, June 3-7, 2013 in Spokane, Washington, at the Northern Quest Resort & Casino, owned by the Kalispel Tribe.

As part of the Training Program, SAIGE will also host the annual Native Youth Program. This program is designed to provide Native American students an opportunity to learn about careers within the federal government, to participate in professional and personal development workshops and leadership training, and to network with Native American professionals.

SAIGE encourages Native American youth to realize their potential to become leaders in their communities and schools, continue their educations by obtaining a college degree, and ultimately, to seek a career in the government sector in one of the multitude of civil service professions. Federal agency representatives attending the conference will have the opportunity to participate as Exhibitors, meet students, and promote career opportunities within their respective agencies.

SAIGE is offering a limited number of scholarships for Native students to attend the 2013 Training Conference June 3-7, 2013 in Spokane, Washington. The scholarships will include conference fee, airfare, hotel accommodations and meals.

The Youth Program is open to Native Students between the ages of 18 and 25 who can demonstrate they are currently enrolled in good standing at an accredited high school, college or university. Students must be interested in gaining a professional degree and in the possibility of pursing a career with the federal government. SAIGE invites American Indian/Alaska Native students to submit their application form, letter of reference, proof of school enrollment, and completed emergency medical information form for consideration to attend the conference. A short essay about their interest in government careers and information about themselves is also required. Completed application packets must be postmarked or electronic copies sent no later than April 1, 2013. To obtain a complete application visit our website at: under Youth Program.