Today, the House of Representatives passed an amendment offered by Rep. Kristi Noem that will promote economic development in Indian Country. This amendment was included as part of H.R. 208, the Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills (SKILLS) Act. Noem's amendment, which was co-authored by Reps. Tom Cole and Don Young, would guarantee funding for American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian workforce development grants.
"With unemployment as high as 80 percent in Indian Country, we must ensure that we are equipping Native Americans with the necessary skills to meet the challenges of today's work environment," said Rep. Noem. "This amendment guarantees that, regardless of future fluctuations in State allocations, federal responsibility to tribes will not be forgotten. We can and must do better for Indian Country, and making our job training programs work better is an effective way of doing just that."
The SKILLS Act eliminates ineffective and redundant programs, empowers job creators and promotes accountability, and cuts through bureaucratic red tape. With approximately 12 million Americans still out of work, this legislation will make better use of taxpayer dollars by supporting a flexible Workforce Investment Fund.
Rep. Noem has previously raised awareness of unemployment in Indian Country. In the 112th Congress, Noem carried this amendment in the House Education and Workforce Committee as part of the Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012.
The amendment was passed by the House of Representatives earlier today by a voice vote.