WASHINGTON D.C. –
U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Chair Byron Dorgan (D-ND), has introduced legislation to help create jobs on the nation’s Indian reservations by improving access to investment capital and removing roadblocks to tribal participation in federal jobs programs.
“Some of the highest unemployment rates in the nation, and the most chronic, are on Indian reservations,” Dorgan said. “But far more than numbers are at stake. More jobs on Indian reservations mean stronger communities, better schools, and better lives for Indian families. If we are serious about reducing unemployment, and we must be, then we must also put a focused, targeted and strong effort on growing jobs for the First Americans.”
Dorgan’s bill would expand access to capital, credit and financial services in Indian communities by expanding and permanently authorizing the successful Native Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) program. Another provision would authorize the Interior Department to provide guaranteed loans to businesses that are majority owned by tribes or individual Native Americans. The intent is to provide greater incentives to outside investors. This provision maintains underwriting requirements on the part of the investor, and equity requirements on the part of the loan recipient.
Other provisions in the bill would authorize the Office of Native American Affairs at the Small Business Administration to provide tribes with guidance on SBA loan guarantees and technical assistance.
Federal training programs would also be streamlined, allowing tribes to combine job training programs from several departments into a single integrated plan.
Contact: Barry Piatt