Workforce Development - Chickasaw

Advancement: Chickasaw Nation 

Jessica Plunk, recent Chickasaw School-to-Work Program graduate, now works full-time at the Chickasaw Nation Medical Center as a Family Medicine Midlevel Provider. (Photo: Chickasaw School-to-Work Program) 

Recognizing that many of its non-traditional students were reaching a point where career advancement was no longer possible, the Chickasaw Nation established its School-to-Work Program (STWP) to provide them access to higher education as well as valuable on-the-job experience. Seeking to create “a nation of educated and highly trained professionals who can meet the demands of today’s workforce,” STWP removes the common barriers preventing participants from earning the degrees and certifications necessary for career advancement by enabling them to spend one-half of each work day attending classes and the other half receiving on-the-job training within Chickasaw Nation’s government departments and businesses. To ensure they have the financial resources to support their families while pursuing their education, students are paid for a full 40-hour work week and provided with the same benefits as other employees, including sick leave, vacation time, holiday pay, and health insurance. According to STWP participant Jeff Burger, “The hours I put in at school are part of my 40-hour [work] week. I have more hours to give to my family now.” Of the 212 Chickasaw citizens who have completed STWP since the program’s inception, 188 of them (89%) have secured full-time employment, and 144 of them (68%) now work for the Nation.

CONNECT: Danny Wall, Director, Chickasaw Nation School-to-Work Program, danny.wall@chickasaw.net 

Workforce Development: CHICKASAW NATION

To learn more about Chickasaw Nation's workforce development story, please click on the resources below. 

Chickasaw Nation School-to-Work Program 
The Chickasaw Nation School-to-Work Program Policy Handbook 
Chickasaw Times: Chokka' Kilimpi' Recuritment and Retention and School-to-Work Programs
CNTV News: Revolutionary Programs School-to-Work Program 
NCAI Policy Research Center Tribal Insights Brief: Higher Education & Workforce Development (2012) (see page 7)