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Cherokee Nation Receives Governor’s Commendation for Workforce Development

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TAHLEQUAH, Okla.–An accolade from Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry was presented to Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chad Smith at December’s Tribal Council meeting in honor of the workforce programs sponsored by the Cherokee nation.

The nation received the Governor’s Commendation of Excellence for the 2010 Workforce Investment Act as an Outstanding Business Leader for the Eastern Workforce Investment Board. Cherokee nation was honored with the award for its work in helping to bring businesses to eastern Oklahoma as well as helping to retain existing businesses in the area. At Large Tribal Council Representative Jack D. Baker, whose office is based in Oklahoma City, presented a framed certificate of appreciation from the governor.

“We understand that the greatest service we can offer our people is meaningful employment,” Smith said. “We appreciate the recognition by the state of Oklahoma.”

The certificate reads, “Governor’s commendation is hereby presented to Cherokee nation in recognition of the business-driven leadership you have given to Oklahoma’s workforce development system. Your contributions help the productivity of our economy and make our state a better place to live. Please accept my appreciation for your efforts and my personal best wishes for all your future endeavors.”

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“The Cherokee nation has worked to develop good partnerships with the workforce partners in northeast Oklahoma, and it has paid off by assisting our tribal members in obtaining jobs,” said Cherokee Nation Career Services Group Leader Diane Kelley, who represents the tribe on the Eastern Workforce Development Board. “We are very fortunate to have a good labor force to pull from when a business wants to locate in the Cherokee nation, expand or diversify its operation.”

Through Cherokee Nation Career Services, tribal citizens are offered access to vocational and other educational services, such as employment programs that offer on-the-job training, youth programs that give young people practical experience while serving the community, adult education that helps students become more appealing applicants to employers and job skills assessment for those seeking employment. Assistance with meeting work force needs is also supplied to employers within the 14-county area.

With the Cherokee nation’s boundaries encompassing a 14-county area within the state of Oklahoma, Kelley says the tribe’s workforce development efforts help strengthen the state’s overall economy. The Cherokee nation works to improve the financial standing of its citizens by working to help Cherokees achieve their potential through developmental programs that build a well-rounded workforce, by promoting entrepreneurship and by protecting tribal employment rights within the boundaries of the Cherokee nation.