Navajo Nation Council approves $4 mil for 2022 Summer Youth Employment programs

HEHSC Vice Chairman Carl Slater with the Rock Point Lady Cougars during this year's Spring Session Recognitions. (Photo/Navajo Nation Council)

HEHSC Vice Chairman Carl Slater with the Rock Point Lady Cougars during this year's Spring Session Recognitions. (Photo/Navajo Nation Council)

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — The Navajo Nation Council approved $4 million from the Unreserved, Undesignated Fund Balance (UUFB) for Summer Youth Employment Programs with 110 Navajo Nation chapters.

The legislation was sponsored by Council Delegate Eugene Tso. The bill passed by a vote of 20 in favor and one opposed.

“Two years of this pandemic has impacted employment opportunities for our students, and this $4 million will put our summer youth programs on track,” Tso said. “Our high school and college students deserve every opportunity to work, serve their communities and gain some professional development experience. I appreciate the Navajo Nation Council for passing this legislation and making our children a top priority this summer.”

The Division of Community Development (DCD) provided the following breakdown of program allocations to five agencies:

Eastern Agency — $1,053,097

Fort Defiance Agency — $974,038

Shiprock Agency — $763,916

Western Agency — $683,569

Chinle Agency — $525,380

“Many of our students have been employed since May, so it was critical that we reimburse our chapters properly,” said Vice Chairman Carl Slater. “We need to ensure the annual budget reflects our summer youth employment programs so that chapters do not run out of funding in the future. Our students will benefit greatly from the summer program as they work to develop their resumes and learn critical skills necessary to be successful in the professional world.”

Navajo Nation Speaker Seth Damon Damon certified the resolution June 24 and President Jonathan Nez has until July 4, to sign it into law. If no action is taken, it becomes Navajo Nation law. Chapters then need to pass support resolutions accepting summer youth employment funds, a requirement to meet compliance policies for the Office of the Controller and OMB.

“The Navajo Nation Council supports our young people as they continue to grow to be the leaders we need tomorrow. I have always spoken about the seven generations and how our youth must return home to help their communities,” Damon said. “Summer employment opportunities allow our students, whether in high school or college, to purchase school supplies, clothing and any travel costs they may incur while returning to their campuses. The $4 million is an investment in the educational journey of our students.”

Diné Customary Law is highlighted in Legislation No. 0066-22, which says that Navajo children must be provided with the education “to absorb wisdom, self-knowledge, and knowledge to empower them to make a living and participate in the growth of the Navajo Nation.”

The $4 million allocations will be deposited following the 50/50 funding distribution formula. The appropriation will be divided equally among all chapters, with 50 percent being divided proportionally using a percentage equal to the number of registered voters in each chapter.

Information provided by the Navajo Nation Council

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