Navajo committee approves funding for year-round youth employment

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — In June, the Navajo Nation Council approved an emergency bill that approved nearly $2.2 million for the Navajo Nation’s 110 chapters for summer youth employment.

On Nov. 1, the Resources and Development Committee (RDC) considered the bill, which would amend Navajo Nation Council resolution CJN-34-17 to allow for carryover of the funding from FY2017 to FY2018 from the Unreserved, Undesignated Fund Balance for summer youth employment to the 110 Navajo chapters.

RDC chair Council Delegate Alton Joe Shepherd (Jeddito, Cornfields, Ganado, Kin Dah Lichíí, Steamboat), who sponsored the legislation, asked for his committee’s support to allow chapters to continue utilizing the funds that were allocated.

“There are several chapters that did not use the funds that were allocated for summer youth employment. Those funds should be used until it is expended,” Shepherd said.

According to the legislation, approximately $1.4 million was expended for summer youth employment and approximately $666,000 is available for carryover.

In support of the legislation, Council Delegate Jonathan Perry (Becenti, Crownpoint, Huerfano, Lake Valley, Nageezi, Nahodishgish, Tse’ii’ahi, Whiterock) proposed an amendment that would allow the chapters to use the carryover funds throughout the entire year for youth employment.

“The carryover funds should not be limited to only summer employment. The funds should also be used during fall, winter and spring break. This would allow the youth to participate in the government, gain work experience and earn money for school supplies and clothes year around,” Perry said.

The amendment was approved with a vote of 4-0.

“I highly encourage the chapters to fully utilize the funds solely for the youth during their school breaks. The funds are for the youth and the funds should not be used for other purposes,” Perry added.

The Navajo Nation Council serves as the final authority for the bill.

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