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The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes’ (CSKT) Pilot Project Implementation Plan and Pilot Training Initiative is the third phase of CSKT’s Sustainable Economic Development Project funded by the Administration for Native Americans (ANA). The first two phases of the Project set the groundwork for this third phase.

Phase I began with the formation of an interagency, interdisciplinary Project Steering Committee that partnered with the University of Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research to conduct a Job and Training Needs Survey of Tribal members living on the Flathead Indian Reservation. With 771 members responding to the survey, committee partners created the CSKT Sustainable Economic Development Study (Study) document which includes a description of the Flathead Reservation economy, regional job trends and employment opportunities, and the results and analyses of the Tribal member survey including career and training interests, employment and educational status, and barriers to employment and training. A second survey, the results of which were also incorporated into the Study, was administered to Tribal business owners to specifically determine business owner training needs.

Phase II of the Sustainable Economic Development Project entailed development of a Sustainable, Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy/Plan which summarized the history and resources of the Reservation, analyzed the Reservation’s economic strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and reviewed Tribal and other entities’ plans and goals for economic development, infrastructure development, climate change, pre-disaster planning, and more. Ideas discussed at multiple steering committee meetings, meetings with Tribal Elders, and other public meetings helped the CSKT Tribal Council prioritize several goals and multiple action steps for Flathead Reservation economic development. Two of these goals relate to worker training and assistance for small business owners:

  • Educate, Train and Provide Work Experience for Tribal Members for Today’s and Tomorrow’s Employment Opportunities
  • Assist Tribal Member Entrepreneurs and Prospective Entrepreneurs with Access to Capital, Training, and Other Business Development Needs to Stimulate the Private Sector and Decrease Reliance on Tribal Government Employment

Phase III, the Pilot Training Initiative, involves development of a CSKT Pilot Project Implementation Plan and Pilot Training Initiative. The Project Implementation Plan includes input from CSKT departments and corporations, as well as local and state entities, and was developed by the Project Steering Committee comprised of Project staff and partners. Staff members include Project Director Janet Camel and Project Assistant Kyle Hendrickx. Project Partners include Steve Clairmont (S&K Business Services and Sovereign Leasing and Financing,Inc.), Ruth Swaney (CSKT Finance Office), Arlene Templer and Kelly Whitworth (CSKT Department of Human Resource Development), Debra Krantz and Martina Nolte (Lake County Job Service), Marie Hirsch and Carol Cunningham (Lake County Community Development Corporation [LCCDC]), Sandra Boham, Traci McDonald and Terri Cordier (Salish Kootenai College), Donna Mitchell (Kicking Horse Job Corps Center), Heather Sobrepena-George (Montana Department of Commerce Native American Business Development Program), and Tom Acevedo (S&K Technologies). We also worked with Shannon Hahn (Montana Department of Transportation Disadvantaged Business Enterprise [MDT DBE] program), Robert Much and Johnel Barcus (Native American Development Corporation [NADC]), John Balsam and John Repke (Kalispell Small Business Development Center [SBDC]), and Lad Barney and Heather Handeland (USDA Rural Development).

The goal of the Pilot Training Initiative is to provide timely, customized, workforce training and other support to meet the training needs of Tribal members and/or Tribal member entrepreneurs on the Flathead Reservation. Extensive collaboration with identified Tribal and other community partners was used to provide:

a) professional skills training, as guided by the Plan and Study, during Quarters 2-4 of FY 2016, at a frequency of at least one (1) service package to at least 8 Tribal members; and

b) business development support and resources, as guided by the Plan and Study, during Quarters 2-4 of FY 2016, at a frequency of at least one (1) service package to at least 8 Tribal member entrepreneurs and prospective entrepreneurs.

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