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Guest Opinion. As a tribal nation, we become stronger when our citizens pursue training and education – and even more so when they use those skills and knowledge to serve Cherokees through our tribe’s government and businesses. With the launch of the Cherokee Nation College Internship Program, we are taking steps to help those rising Cherokees advance in their careers while helping our nation.

This initiative is more than an internship. It lays the groundwork of successful careers for Cherokee youth and a strong tribal workforce for decades to come. Along with the millions in college scholarships distributed every year by Cherokee Nation and the Cherokee Nation Foundation, the internship program will make sure that financial barriers do not prevent our youth from pursuing their dreams in higher learning.

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The Cherokee Nation College Internship Program will be operated by the tribe's Human Resources Department and initially funded through the tribe’s American Rescue Plan Act funding. The Career Services and Education Services departments will also help to recruit applicants and fill critical positions within the Cherokee Nation. We are building on the success of the tribe’s summer leadership program and scholarships.

We plan to offer about 30 paid internships for the first year. Multiple Cherokee Nation departments, including Health Services, Registration, Accounting/Finance, IT, Administration and many more will be accepting intern positions. Preference will be given to Cherokees pursuing degrees or certifications that align with Cherokee Nation’s hard-to-fill positions, which constitute more than 20 percent of the current job openings.

The program creates a bridge between academic learning and practical experience, and it sets students up for success in later employment within our tribal departments. College and Career Tech students and recent graduates will get firsthand knowledge of their chosen fields and Cherokee Nation operating processes.

By supporting emerging talents within our tribe, we can uplift whole families and communities. We want Cherokee Nation to always be a place where young people know they have opportunities to stay, raise a family and keep our culture strong. More employment within the Cherokee Nation Reservation helps make sure our youngest Cherokees, elders and everyone in between can stay together in a multigenerational community.

Cherokee Nation Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr.

Of course, the new intern program is just the newest addition to the array of support Cherokee Nation provides to Cherokee college students. This year alone we will commit over $19 million to fund college scholarships, including new merit scholarships. It is exciting to think that some of the thousands of Cherokees across the country on a Cherokee Nation scholarship may also find their way to the new intern program.

To aspiring interns, I encourage you to seize this opportunity. To be eligible for the program, students must be a recent college graduate, enrolled in an accredited university, or pursuing certification through a career technical school. The internship will last about 13 weeks, offering paid employment, bridging academics and providing practical work experience.

We will not only nurture talent but also secure a brighter future for the Cherokee Nation. Together, we are empowering a new generation of leaders and ensuring the continued prosperity of our great tribe.

For more information, contact Cherokee Nation HR at 918-453-5738.

Chuck Hoskin, Jr. is the principal chief of the Cherokee Nation.

 

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Author: Chuck Hoskin JrEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.