Senate Passes Tribal Employment and Training Legislation

    Juneau, AK (KINY) - New legislation passed by the Senate gives access of more federal agencies to tribes for support services.

    According to a press release, H.R. 228, the Indian Employment, Training, and Related Services Consolidation Act of 2017 will make permanent the Native employment and training programs commonly known as the 477 Program. This comes after more than 20 years operating as a demonstration project.

    “This historic passage occurred after eight years of tribal advocacy,” said President Richard Peterson. “There were many tribal leaders who worked hard to make this achievement a reality over the last several years including Tlingit & Haida’s former Chief Operating Officer Corrine Garza. I want to also recognize in particular the staff of Senator Murkowski, Senator Tester, Senator Udall and Congressman Young, and the law firm Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Endreson & Perry, LLP.”

    Tribes previously only had access to three federal resources for these programs: Department of Interior, Department of Labor, and the Department of Health & Human Services. This will soon include the Justice Department and the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, Homeland Security, Housing & Urban Development, Transportation, and Veterans Affairs.  

    Other changes in the new law included authorize tribes to recover 100% of indirect costs, expressly repealing caps on indirect costs that would otherwise apply to funds consolidated under a plan and clarifies the plan approval process and timelines, the roles of various federal agencies involved, the transfer of funds mechanism, and the reporting and audit requirements.

    It was said by 477 Division Director William Martin that the 477 Program is "one of the best tools we have available to our tribal citizens.The passage of this bill allows us to negotiate grants and contracts across all departments, efficiently consolidate them into a single plan, program and budget, and invest more program dollars directly into support services.”

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