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Native American Communities Key to Building Washington

OCTOBER 07, 2019
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WSATSC Committee at Laborers' Local 242 (Des Moines, WA).

Native American Communities Key to Building Washington
Tribes, unions and government unite for untapped workforce

Des Moines, Wash., March 7, 2019 – The Washington State Apprenticeship Training Council Tribal Sub-Committee (WSATSC), tribal and labor leaders and government liaisons gathered at Laborers’ Local 242 to discuss the importance of apprenticeship programs for the employment of Native Americans. With high unemployment, addiction and suicide rates, amongst other hardships, these community leaders are working to improve the situations for many tribes through workforce development while solving a statewide labor shortage.

“Union apprenticeship programs are the gold standard for training the next generation of skilled workers…We want to do everything we can to promote the inclusion of underrepresented groups in these programs. Apprenticeship opportunities for family-wage careers should be available to all.”
Larry Brown, President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO

The WSATSC has been serving Native American communities for over 15 years. In order to reach these communities, a list of needs were developed including recognition of the tribes as training agents, open communication with labor organizations and off-reservation projects to include TERO language were highlighted.

Native American representation in apprenticeship programs for Washington state are at three percent while tribes like the Yakama have an unemployment rate of 69 percent. The nationwide labor shortage hasn’t tapped into the potential of Native American communities though Washington has 29 federally recognized tribes.

“Synergistic partnering with unions in apprenticeships will develop qualified workers and create a great career path for both organizations and membership.”
Lee Adolph, CEO/President Council for Tribal Employment Rights, TERO

The Northwest Region is the largest geographical region in the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA). LIUNA Northwest Region represents over 46,000 working people of diverse backgrounds and occupations with 23 local unions, five district councils and 13 dedicated training facilities. We are united through collective bargaining agreements which help us earn family-supporting pay, good benefits and the opportunity for advancement and better lives.