Crownpoint Trains Welfare RecipientsNov 15th, 1997 | By tcj | Category: 9-3: Responsible Welfare Reform, Tribal College News
The New Mexico Human Services Department has awarded a $680,000, one-year grant to Crownpoint Institute of Technology (CIT) to provide employment and training services to 800 residents of the Navajo Nation. CIT responded to the state’s request for proposals for training welfare clients. The institute will be assessing clients and training them in job search, job readiness, and urban living skills. They will also try to match them with work experience in the public sector, community service, and paid employment with the private sector, according to CIT Human Resources Director Jay R. DeGroat. The unemployment rate in the Navajo Nation is 45 percent.
Several businesses have said they would employ trainees at minimum wage, but many trainees are illiterate. Nevertheless, DeGroat is optimistic about the possibilities, especially in community service. CIT has arranged trades with Navajo chapters (political subdivisions of the tribe) and with veteran programs, for example. The welfare recipients will provide the labor as they are trained in plumbing and carpentry skills, and the other parties will supply the materials to construct needed buildings around the reservation. “Rather than trying to bring them here to Crownpoint, we’re taking the training to them,” DeGroat says.
“The social evils–alcoholism, drug addiction, domestic violence, despair–that accompany unemployment anywhere are especially pernicious here on the Navajo Nation and threaten to destroy our culture,” says CIT President James Tutt. “The institute wants to equip our citizens with the skills to address the challenges that face them.”