Programs and Services
American Indian Workforce Development Program
Maria Richardson, American Indian Workforce Development Program Director
(Funded by the U.S. Dept. of Labor/Employment and Training Administration/Division of Indian and Native American Programs)
Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Section 166 Program
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (“WIOA”) became effective July 1, 2015, replacing workforce development programs authorized under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). Under WIOA, and as previously with WIA, Native American Programs are authorized as national "set-aside" programs under Section 166. In carrying out its mandate and objectives, the Commission of Indian Affairs operates a WIOA Section 166 workforce development program that targets the needs of unemployed, underemployed and low income American Indians in North Carolina.
In its provision of Section 166 WIOA services, and consistent with WIOA law and federal regulations at 20 CFR §684.300, program applicants who are enrolled members of state or federally recognized tribes, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians may be availed services through the workforce development program of the North Carolina Commission of Indian Affairs. The ultimate goal of our assistance and services is to: (1) increase academic, occupational, and literacy skills among the American Indian population; (2) increase American Indian workers’ abilities to be competitive in the workforce, thus helping them achieve personal and economic self-sufficiency, and; (3) to promote social and economic development in North Carolina American Indian communities.
Under WIOA, the commission’s service area spans 63 of the state’s 100 counties. The remaining 37 counties are designated among four other WIOA Section 166 (Indian & Native American Programs) grantees in the state: Cumberland County Association for Indian People; Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians; Guilford Native American Association; and Lumbee Regional Development Association. Commission of Indian Affairs WIOA assistance is provided via field offices and staff located within the American Indian communities.
The commission’s workforce development staff in the Sampson County field office and serving the Coharie tribal area is Sue Faircloth (910) 564-6726 (firstname.lastname@example.org). Our Columbus County WIOA field office serves the Waccamaw-Siouan tribal area and is staffed by Carolyn Crocker (910) 655-8708 (Carolyn.Crocker@doa.nc.gov). Individuals seeking workforce development services can contact one of our offices or an office of one of the above service providers closest to them, or contact the nearest NCWorks Career Center office.
Consistent with the veterans priority provisions of the “Jobs for Veterans Act” (P.L. 207‑288), USDOL/ETA Advisory System TEGL #5-03, and DINAP Bulletin 03-04, the North Carolina Commission of Indian Affairs WIOA Program provides priority in eligibility determination and service provision to otherwise eligible American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian veterans. The highest preference will be afforded to WIOA Section 166 eligible individuals who are veterans of the U.S. military services.
Commission WIOA Services
In the commission's Comprehensive Services Plan (CSP) for its Section 166 program operation, the program is designed to provide Classroom Training, Work Experience, and Job Search and Placement Assistance services to eligible clients. In addition to these services, the commission's WIOA program may provide supportive services such as employment related services, transportation assistance, temporary housing assistance for trainees, etc. Supportive services may be provided to overcome barriers to employment or training that have been identified in a client's individual training and development plan, or through an appropriate contract, referral, or follow up service.
The ultimate goal of our assistance and services is to: (1) increase academic, occupational, and literacy skills among the American Indian population; (2) increase American Indian workers' abilities to be competitive in the workforce, thus helping them achieve personal and economic self-sufficiency, and; (3) to promote social and economic development in North Carolina American Indian communities.
This component emphasizes vocational training for the program's target population. There are 58 community colleges in the state. Each community college designs its own areas of vocational training based on the needs and employment opportunities of the area served. The choice of vocational training is left to the individual participants with the guidance and approval of program staff and community college guidance counselors.
Many of the program's applicants lack a high school diploma. Under the Work Experience component, participants with a high school diploma are placed in 40-hour-per-week temporary work experience positions. Work Experience participants without high school diplomas are placed in 25-hour-per-week temporary work experience positions, and must attend adult basic education classes for at least 15 hours per week. A majority of our Work Experience participants continue their education and career training by participating in other classroom/skills training programs concurrently or upon completion of Commission of Indian Affairs WIOA Program assistance.
Job Search and Placement Assistance
Job development is customer focused and based on the individual's academic and vocational skills, their previous work history and their personal interest. Many individuals come to our offices only seeking employment. Our focus for these individuals is to assist in their job search. Although our efforts are customer focused, all clients are advised of local labor market conditions and current demand. Each local office provides job search and placement assistance, and can assist in the development of client resumes, cover letters, and the completion of applications for employment. WIOA staff can assist clients in rural tribal communities that may not have internet access to NCWorks Online and a vast array of other state and national employment information. N.C. Commission of Indian Affairs WIOA staff may also coordinate assistance to clients through collaborative partnering efforts with the state's NCWorks Career Center network.
American Indian Workforce Development Program Advocacy
The N.C. Commission of Indian Affairs is a charter member of the Southeastern Indian Manpower Planners and Administrators Association (SIMPAA), an association of Native American employment and training service providers located in seven southeastern states. SIMPAA was established in 1977 to address problems facing Indian and Native American grantees and tribal communities and to strengthen Indian and Native American job training programs through the provision of technical assistance and resource materials for workforce development staff. The commission's WIOA program director previously served as vice president of the association and continues to be actively involved in the activities of the organization.
On April 2, 2014, the Commission's WIOA program director was reappointed by Thomas E. Perez, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor, to the Native American Employment and Training Council. The Council, which is authorized by Section 166(i)(4) of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, provides advice to the Secretary regarding the provision of employment and training services to Native Americans through federal workforce development programs.
For additional information about the program, E-mail: Maria Richardson, Program Director.