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Chickasaw's Summer Youth Program Put Kids To Work; Helps Local Businesses

For more than 25 years, the Chickasaw Nation Summer Youth program has made a positive impact on both young people’s lives and employers in south central Oklahoma.

The Chickasaw Nation Summer Youth program provides quality, no-cost labor to dozens of employers in the tribe’s 13-county area while hundreds of Oklahoma youth gain valuable workforce training.

The summer youth employment program places Native American youth, ages 14-21, in local businesses to help them to gain real-world experience at no cost to the business.

Businesses willing to teach and guide Chickasaw workers have the student’s wages paid by the program.

In 2012, more than 675 Native American youth participated in this program at 286 worksites throughout the Chickasaw Nation.

Students were placed within work sites that include tribal operations, health systems, local schools, universities, county government, business or service in the non-profit sector.

Functioning in real-world workplaces, summer workers are able to learn the skills and attitudes needed to succeed.

D’Angelo Dunn, 18, has spent four summers working in the Chickasaw Nation graphics department.

“This has been a good learning experience,” Dunn said. “I plan on using these skills when I open my own orthodontist office.”

In addition to the real world environment with peer mentors, students received job shadowing experience and work place etiquette skills. Some of the student participants received additional tutoring in math and reading to improve their skill level and better prepare them for future employment.

“The Summer Youth program has helped me with my social skills,” said Daniel Mead, 18, who worked at the McSwain Theater as a concession worker. “I deal with people every day as I go about my duties.”

For more information on the Summer Youth Program, contact any of the Chickasaw Nation Area Offices, or call (580) 436-7256.


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