A new program aimed at enriching lives and local communities completed a successful year in Crow Agency, Lodge Grass, and Wyola.
“The unemployment rate is really high here,” according to Plenty Doors Community Development Corp. Executive Director Charlene Johnson. “A recent economic study showed that 85 cents of each dollar leaves the community.” The organization’s Apsaalooke Day Labor Program aims to employ more people and invest locally.
Wesley Stops, Jr. oversaw the 93 program participants. “We did everything from clerical and administrative work, to carpentry, mowing, trimming, removing trash, and assisting the Bureau of Indian Affairs Forestry Department in minimizing fire hazards,” Stops said.
“We’re trying to get people certified in different areas, such as plumbing, electric, CNA. The demand for services such as small engine and appliance repair and heavy equipment operation is high here on the Reservation,” he added.
Day Labor employers included Little Big Horn College, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the City of Lodge Grass, Plenty Doors, and Tribal Courts. A Little Big Horn College official called the program a “great partnership and opportunity to support one another for workforce development.”
According to one of the laborers, “Working for the program gave me pride. I hope next summer, the program continues with the community. It helped my family.”