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Three for the money: Web sites help American Indian job seekers

RAPID CITY, S.D. - Finding the perfect place to work could be only a mouse click away for Web surfers who use free services of three online employment services for American Indian job seekers.

The Tribal Employment Newsletter ( Web site lists job openings from employers throughout the United States specifically looking for American Indians. A recent surf turned up positions ranging from dean of a Wisconsin tribal technical college to kitchen technician at a Minnesota casino and a tribal police officer opening in the Northwest.

Jobs are grouped in categories such as administration, business, education, human services, hotel and restaurant, technology and natural resources, so listings are easy to use. "The site specializes in skilled and experienced job seekers," Scott Gasperin, webmaster and newsletter publisher, said. "If people don't see what they want, we ask them to create a category."

Gasperin came up with the idea of an all-Indian job bank in the early 1990s when he was director of forestry for the Nez Perce Tribe. "Recruiting people to fill positions was a difficult proposition. I knew there were qualified people out there, but we couldn't find them and they couldn't find us."

As chairman of the education committee of the Intertribal Timber Council, he focused efforts on recruiting and retention. "At that time AISES was the only job placement service specifically for American Indians. They had no Web site and their magazine came out quarterly. There was real need for an up-to-date service."

In 1996 he came out with a print version of the Tribal Employment Newsletter. Two years ago he took it online. Today his site averages about 1,000 hits per month.

"We're very focused. We are making a national network for Native Americans and we are getting known as a reliable source. For example, when the Census Bureau out of Seattle wanted American Indians, they recruited through our site."

The site is supported by fees charged employers who advertise openings.

Gasperin hopes more employers will use the service and more job seekers will benefit. "The biggest opportunity will come when TERO ordinances are effectively implemented in and around reservations," he said. He plans to expand postings to include proposals so American Indian business owners can bid on them.

Minorities' Job Bank at is working to create the largest online database of equal opportunity employers committed to workplace diversity. Its list of more than 200 corporate employers ranges from American Express to Xerox.

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Its mission is clear, stating: "This bank contains no money. It contains information. Information is power and power is more valuable than money."

The site encourages job seekers to publish resumes on its pages, where they will be noticed by corporate recruiters. Information for African American, Asian American, Hispanic American, and American Indian job seekers are provided in free e-zines called villages. Women also have a village.

The Native American Village, edited by Jordan Dill, contains articles covering hot issues, news and the workplace.

Originally begun as a project of the Black Collegian magazine, published for more than 30 years, Minorities' Job Bank has been online two years.

"We strive to provide informative copy in our villages," said Kathy Dejoie, an online content editor. "... There's already enough fluff, gossip trash and entertainment online."

Health profession job vacancies in Washington state, Oregon and Idaho are the focus of the Northwest Recruiting Project jobs board.( The project is part of the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board and funded by a grant from Indian Health Services. Early this month, 47 openings ranged from counseling and social work positions to jobs in nursing, pharmacy, nutrition, and health administration.

Project director Gary Small, a Northern Cheyenne from Montana, says, "We always have job vacancies in our area of the country."

About two years ago, the health board decided to try online recruiting in addition to conventional methods. "We figured that going online was a way to get into people's living rooms. At first response was slow, but it has really picked up."

People looking for work are encouraged to provide the project with a resume. "We've developed an elaborate data base. When one of the 41 tribes in our area faxes a job vacancy to us, we're able to go through our data base and send the resumes of all qualified applicants that are ready to go to work," Small said.

"We try to combine personal service with the Internet recruiting. ... If somebody has a question, they're going to talk to a person on the phone and will be treated like a person." The toll-free phone number for NTRP is 1-800-338-8166.