(December 6, 2017) –
The Senate’s unanimous passage of
H.R. 228, the Indian Employment, Training and Related Services Consolidation Act of 2017
, was a huge victory for Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (Tlingit & Haida) and other tribes across the nation. The new law was introduced by Congressman Don Young and passed in the House earlier this year and will not only improve, but make permanent the Native employment and training programs commonly known as the 477 Program after more than 20 years operating as a demonstration project.
Tlingit & Haida was the first tribe in the nation to enter into a Public Law (P.L.) 102-477 Compact with the United States and has successfully administered the innovative workforce development demonstration program for over two decades.
“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.”
Among other amendments made, the new law will provide the ability of tribes to integrate federal resources received for employment and training purposes under a single plan and budget. The original law previously applied to only three federal agencies (Department of Interior, Department of Labor, and Department of Health & Human Services) and will soon include the Justice Department and the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, Homeland Security, Housing & Urban Development, Transportation, and Veterans Affairs.
Other significant changes included in the new law authorizes 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.
“The passage of this bill affirms the sovereignty and wisdom of tribes to serve their citizens in a way that ensures the highest likelihood of long-term success,” said 477 Division Director William Martin. “The passage makes permanent a system that has proven to be very effective in guiding our low income individuals and families to independence and self-sufficiency. The goal of Tlingit & Haida’s 477 Division is to create a single, coordinated system of collaborative services by pooling funding sources together to provide employment, training and other supportive services for the maximum benefit to our tribal citizens. 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.”