The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians has been awarded a $5.8 million grant for the construction of an Advanced Workforce Training Center.
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced that the Department's Economic Development Administration is awarding the $5.8 million grant to the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians for the construction of the Advanced Workforce Training Center.
The grant is funded by the American Rescue Plan's Indigenous Communities Program, a press release states.
"Workforce development is a primary focus for our Tribe," said Chief Cyrus Ben in the press release. "We have undertaken many projects to help our community members prepare to face a challenging and ever-evolving job market. This Workforce Training Center is a key component of our strategy to increase the skills of our Tribal members, whether they choose a career on or outside of our Tribal lands."
Anna Denson, project manager of economic development, said the planning process took more than a year.
"The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians has been searching for funding and additional resources for quite some time," Denson said. "As of today, our National Center for construction education and research offers HVAC, electrical and industrial maintenance to tribal employees with very little room, but the goal is to expand with the new center."
Denson also said that CNA, welding, computer IT, and CPR could possibly be added to the new training facility.
"The goal is to give every department its own classroom," Denson said. "We currently support approximately 5,000 tribal workers."
In addition, The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians is one of three federally recognized tribes of Choctaw Native Americans.
Choctaw officials said that getting the new center will be beneficial for the community.
"With the knowledge from the new courses, tribal employees will be eligible to find employment outside of the reserve," Denson said.
The new job training facility is expected to be open in the Pearl River community in about a year.
This article originally appeared on Mississippi Clarion Ledger: Choctaw officials and tribal employees await the new job center