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A Minnesota-based, Natived-owned training and consulting firm is bringing a workforce training program to the Great Lakes region designed for Native American communities. 

Lake Elmo, Minn.-based Five Skies Training and Consulting plans to offer a two-week Career Readiness Enhancement Training program focusing on core workforce development skills through a Native lens.

The training program builds on the Five Skies’ model, which focuses on providing Native-centered training for various industries — typically construction — said company co-founder and Oneida Nation member Nick Kedrowski. 

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The workshops within the program are aimed at helping tribal members overcome barriers stemming from generational trauma such as alcohol and drug addiction while turning to their cultures for support and guidance. 

“From those issues, a lot of barriers get created, whether it's alcoholism or addictions or issues like that, or deep-set anger and resentment without really knowing why, so we incorporated those elements into a workforce readiness program,” Kedrowski told Tribal Business News.

Kedrowski added that the training infuses Native values into foundational workforce development training, including mock interviews, resume building and financial literacy. 

“We talk about how those values can be impactful in today's life. For example, we try to teach people to think about money differently and use it as a tool rather than the goal,” Kedrowski said. “If money's the goal, we're always going to be beholden to it, and our values don't play a role. We value other things — teachings and learning language. We teach people to identify that within themselves, to find out what's important to them, and to help them figure out how to accomplish those things by applying our methodology to their budget.”

Along with those core training, the program also focuses on the specifics of working and doing business in Indian Country, including understanding the tribal Employment Rights Ordinance, which requires employers engaged in business on reservations give preference to qualified Indians in all aspects of employment, contracting, and all other business or economic development activities.

The program will be offered in partnership with Sloan, Iowa-based Summit Carbon Solutions, a carbon removal and storage company. Summit Cabron Solutions CEO Lee Blank said the company was “committed to a collaborative tribal engagement process.”

“[We want to provide] transparency, meaningful opportunities to share information, and a wide range of options to provide input, ensuring that we work together to create a better future for all,” Blank said in a statement. “We are proud to encourage Native American participation in the carbon management industry and are committed to honoring and preserving their cultural heritage in everything we do.” 

The program is open to federally recognized tribal members over 18, as well as their descendants or spouses. The class size will be limited to 30 participants. Participants will receive lunch each day and a weekly stipend; non-local participants may be provided with lodging.

For more information about the Career Readiness Enhancement Training (CRET) program, call 612-638-6713 or 218-839-5204, email [email protected], or visit the Five Skies website at fiveskies.org.

About The Author
Chez Oxendine
Staff Writer
Chez Oxendine (Lumbee-Cheraw) is a staff writer for Tribal Business News. Based in Oklahoma, he focuses on broadband, Indigenous entrepreneurs, and federal policy. His journalism has been featured in Native News Online, Fort Gibson Times, Muskogee Phoenix, Baconian Magazine, and Oklahoma Magazine, among others.
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