WINDOW ROCK, ARIZ-On Monday Jun. 6, in accordance with the four pillars of the Begaye-Nez Administration, President Russell Begaye and Vice President Jonathan Nez approved legislation appropriating $2 million dollars toward the Navajo Nation’s summer youth employment.
“After careful review, I have decided to sign Resolution No. CMY-31-16 into law. I believe the summer youth employment can be a valuable opportunity and investment in our future. We need to continue to create opportunities for our college students to come home and gain training and insight into working on the Nation,” President Begaye said.
In his memo of approval, President Begaye addressed the need for the Office of Youth Development to ensure the Summer Youth Employment Program abides by standard policies and procedures across all chapters. Chapters that don’t currently have formal policies and procedures in place will be identified and given training to develop these guidelines.
He also asked that each Chapter operate fairly in opening these opportunities to all youth, especially considering those that haven’t participated previously.
“This is a prime opportunity for our Chapters to develop programs that will instill our culture, language and traditions into our youth,” he said.
The proportional distribution of these funds across all 110 Navajo Chapters needs to be addressed where chapters with more need are afforded more funds and those with less are awarded accordingly, he said.
“In approving this legislation, I considered it in terms of financial preparation. I don’t think we should be expending funds without fully understanding the comprehensive need. We need to know ahead of time whether we are meeting those needs. Then we should evaluate additional appropriations,” President Begaye said. “These programs are critical and they serve a purpose in supporting our youth and students if administered appropriately. That is important.”
He noted that this will be the only time that supplemental funding will be provided and that each Chapter needs to budget accordingly for Summer Youth Employment Programs in planning for the next fiscal year.
Vice President Nez said the Summer Youth Employment Programs provide invaluable opportunities for youth and college students to gain work experience on the Nation.
“We tell our children to come home and help their people. At the same time, we hear there aren’t employment opportunities on the Nation. This program supports our four pillars while also embracing Navajo youth,” Vice President Nez said. “Every step we take toward educating and employing our youth is a step toward securing our future.”