Cherokee Nation Summer Youth Employment Program Applications Available

Published March 20, 2017

TAHLEQUAH — The Cherokee Nation is now accepting applications for its Summer Youth Employment Program, which provides valuable work experience for about 600 Native youth each year.

Applications for the employment program are available at any of the 11 Cherokee Nation Career Services offices and are due by April 28. The program kicks off June 5 and ends July 28, with participants working 40 hours per week and earning $7.25 per hour.

“This program has been beneficial for youth who are trying to determine what career path they would like to take,” said Diane Kelley, executive director of Cherokee Nation Career Services. “It allows students to gain the necessary tools for the type of training they need should they choose a career that requires educational attainment or a certification.”

To qualify for the employment program, youth ages 16-24 must be a citizen of a federally recognized tribe and reside within the Cherokee Nation’s 14-county jurisdiction. The program raised the age of participants to age 24 this year. Applicants younger than 18 years old must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian during the application process.

Participants in the Summer Youth Employment Program will work in a Cherokee Nation department, or with the tribe’s assistance could be placed in a public school, library or private business. Cherokee Nation funds the employment program.

“It is rewarding to know the Cherokee Nation is teaching our future leaders the skills they need to be productive and successful in the workforce,” Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “Through this program, hundreds of program participants have obtained knowledge that will be invaluable to their careers and beneficial to their future employers, whether it be the Cherokee Nation or elsewhere in the public or private sectors.”

Jeff Vance, director of Employment Programs for Cherokee Nation Career Services, participated in the summer work program before obtaining his degree and beginning his career with the tribe.

“All of the work experience I obtained in the summer youth program helped me get my first job with Cherokee Nation,” Vance said. “Many of the program participants later find employment within the Cherokee Nation because of the experience they’ve gained. We try to teach students punctuality and work ethic and also promote a safe working environment.”

Applications are also being taken through April 28 for the Summer Youth Leadership Intern Program.

“Some of our top leaders in the Cherokee Nation were products of the Summer Leadership Intern Program,” said George Roach, director of Vocational Programs for Cherokee Nation Career Services.

Roach oversees the summer intern program, which provides young adults an opportunity to become familiar with Cherokee Nation government and administrative functions. Only about a dozen Cherokee Nation citizens ages 18-21 will be selected during the competitive application process, which includes an interview in May.

Applicants for the internship program may apply at any Career Services office. Among other requirements, applicants for the leadership program must reside in the tribe’s 14-county jurisdiction and have a GPA of 3.0 or higher for the current school year. Two letters of recommendation from school administrators, a school counselor and/or former employers are also necessary.

For a list of Cherokee Nation Career Service office locations, visit

For more information on the Cherokee Nation Summer Youth Employment Program or the Summer Youth Leadership Intern Program, including eligibility criteria for each, call 918-453-5555.

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