Expanding Careers Options for Cherokee People

Cherokee Nation Career ServicesGuest Commentary

A good, quality job is a basic necessity for any person or family to succeed. Job security allows us to create stability and provide a secure home for our children. Developing a long-term career is growing real hope for a brighter future. That is why it is so important to create more opportunities for career dreams to become a reality for the Cherokee people.

I am proud to report the Cherokee Nation has opened and expanded Career Services offices across our 14-county jurisdiction. We just opened our first ever Tulsa office and moved into a new office in Pryor, located inside the MidAmerica Industrial Park. Another new Career Services office will open in Sallisaw later this month.

These new offices help fill a variety of existing jobs, and new jobs coming to the Cherokee Nation. Cherokee Nation is the lead recruiter for the new Macy’s fulfillment center, currently under construction in Owasso and expected to open in April 2015. We will now help even more Cherokee citizens find not just a job, but a career.

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker

This means Cherokee citizens will not have to travel for job training, career services help or job counseling. The staff at our Cherokee Nation Career Services offices will be right here and available where many jobs are located, including Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa, MidAmerica Industrial Park and the forthcoming Macy’s facility.

We are helping fill jobs that are currently open, but also jobs as they are created over the next several months.

Coupled with those large regional projects, our own growth and job creation continues to flourish. The Cherokee Nation is currently building a new casino in South Coffeyville and a new health center in Ochelata. We also recently announced a new outlet mall being built on land adjacent to Hard Rock.  We will lease that land to Woodmont Outlets, who will build a high end outlet mall set to open in 2016.

Our Career Services department has helped thousands of citizens get trained, become career ready and ultimately employed. In fiscal year 2014, more than 5,000 Cherokee Nation citizens utilized Cherokee Nation’s Career Services programs, including more than 3,000 helped by the department’s Day Training Program alone.

Services offered include job referrals and employment training, GED classes, Talking Leaves Job Corps outreach and admissions services and much more.

Additionally, the Cherokee Nation will administer a $3 million federal grant to help the long-term unemployed find jobs. The office will be open to help both Cherokees and non-Natives, depending on the program.

Career Services has ten locations, including Tahlequah, Claremore, Jay, Muskogee, Sallisaw, Stilwell, Vinita, West Siloam Springs and the newly opened offices in Pryor and Tulsa. The Sallisaw office opens in mid-October.

We have accomplished so many great things in our job and career creation efforts. We have more Cherokees working for our businesses than ever before and I am proud of that. I believe we are giving our people the best opportunities to grow, succeed and thrive. Cherokees deserve a fulfilling career option and we will continue to provide that hope for our people.


Bill John Baker is principal chief of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.


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