Workforce Development - CRITFC

Targeted Solutions: Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission 

Crystal Chulik, CRITFC fisheries technician, takes genetic samples of salmon each year at Bonneville Dam. (Photo: CRITFC Facebook)

The Yakama, Umatilla, Warm Springs, and Nez Perce tribes established CRITFC in 1977 to ensure a strong, “unified” tribal voice in managing the Columbia River salmon and the ecosystem upon which they depend. CRITFC advances this mission in part through its multifaceted approach to develop a skilled workforce by creating opportunities for tribal members to obtain the college education and technical expertise needed to work in STEM-related fields at the core of day-to-day fisheries work. Supporting students from elementary school through post-graduate levels, CRITFC’s place-based curriculum “provides hands-on, experiential” learning, “intergenerational mentoring,” and “positive cultural identity development.” Students witness effective tribal decision making and observe their own innovative tribal programs at work where it matters most: their homelands. To foster a pathway to STEM-based careers, CRITFC launched its Salmon Camp for students to explore these fields at a young age (grades 6-8). Its TRAIL Project provides college students with summer and academic year internships where they gain invaluable research experience. TRAIL’s goal is to propel interns to obtain degrees in fisheries and related fields at universities where the tribes have MOUs. As CRITFC explains, “These aren’t training programs to nowhere. We have jobs waiting at the end of this pathway.”  

CONNECT: Charles Hudson, Intergovernmental Affairs Director, CRITFC,


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

Columbia Inter-Tribal Fish Commission
Honoring Nations: Columbia Inter-Tribal Fish Commission
Government Innovators Network: Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission
Indian Country Today: Commission Protects Columbia River Salmon 
Workforce Opportunities: Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission