Workforce Development - CPN

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,


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

Citizen Potawatomi Nation: Workforce & Social Services
Citizen Potawatomi Nation: Community & Business Development
Citizen Potawatomi Community Development Corporation
Citizen Potawatomi Nation 477 Program: “Stepping Up to the Plate”
Honoring Nations: Citizen Potawatomi Community Development Corporation
Honoring Nations: Potawatomi Leadership Program
NonDoc: Self-Sufficiency at Forefront of Tribal-Reentry Program
Margaret Zientek: Workforce Development: Citizen Potawatomi Nation (video)
Interview: Sovereignty in Action: Margaret Zientek (video)
CPN Employment & Training Department Profile (video)