Tribal Governance: Citizen Potawatomi Nation
Staff of CPN’s Workforce & Social Services Department. (Photo: CPN Workforce & Social Services)
In 1996, CPN took full ownership of the workforce development programs serving its citizens and other local Native people. It established a 477 Plan that gradually merged nine federal grant programs into a single, tribal approach that advances CPN’s overarching goal of empowering their clients’ ability to become self-sufficient. Whereas before CPN had to turn some clients away because of the eligibility and funding restrictions of the federal programs it had been administering, today its self-determined approach flexibly leverages dollars to provide customized services to all of its clients based on their particular challenges. It’s also led to reduced administrative costs and more money spent on direct services. The Nation recently expanded its approach, adding a workforce reintegration program for former felons that boasts a recidivism rate of less than 1%. It also features a fruitful partnership with CPN’s CDFI to help tribal citizens become small business owners. As CPN explains, moving its people towards self-sufficiency starts with “understanding your own tribe’s distinct needs, the needs of your people, which is something that a federal, uniform approach to workforce development can’t possibly account for.”
CONNECT: Margaret Zientek, Assistant Director, CPN Workforce & Social Services, firstname.lastname@example.org
Workforce Development: CITIZEN POTAWATOMI NATION
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