Senate Passes Murkowski Bill to Ensure Tribal Employment Program Remains Intact

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) released the following statement after the Senate unanimously passed legislation she introduced to strengthen and reform Public Law 102-477 (also known as the 477 program), a comprehensive Native employment and training program:

“The 477 program has proven to be an innovative and effective tool in providing education and training opportunities aimed to improve the quality of life in every region of Alaska. I am proud the Senate has recognized the importance of this program to support self-sufficiency, create jobs, and expand employment opportunities for American Indians and Alaska Natives nationwide.”

Senator Murkowski and Senator Dan Sullivan introduced S. 1443, the Indian Employment, Training and Related Services Consolidation Act of 2015 to make the 477 program permanent, expand the types and sources of funding available, resolve plan approval and appeal processes, and ensure that funds will be transferred and require only one report. Congressman Don Young has introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives as well.

Public Law 102-477 is unique in that it allows federally-recognized tribes and Alaska Native entities to combine formula-funded federal grant funds into a single plan with a single budget and a single reporting system. The legislation allows for implementation of plans for the purpose of economic development, job training, welfare-to-work and tribal work experience, higher education, skill development, facilitation of employment, assisting Indian youth and adults to succeed in the workforce, and encouraging self-sufficiency.

S.1443 authorizes the Secretary of the Department of Interior to cooperate with the Attorney General, Secretary of Agriculture, Secretary of Commerce, Secretary of Education, Secretary of Energy, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Secretary of Homeland Security, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Secretary of Labor, Secretary of Transportation, and Secretary of Veterans Affairs on coordination of federally-funded employment, training, and related services programs.

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