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FARMINGTON — A program that provides job opportunities for young people and services that are provided to veterans both have received financial backing from Navajo Nation officials.

President Russell Begaye recently signed off on legislation to provide $2 million in supplemental funding from the Unreserved Undesignated Fund Balance for summer youth employment at the 110 chapters.

The president approved the measure on May 31 after members of the Navajo Nation Council passed the emergency legislation on May 19.

The bill was introduced as an emergency because of the "critical nature summer youth employment plays in the local economy" and because salaries provided by the program help students pay their school expenses, according to a draft of the measure.

Chapters operate the program to offer temporary employment and job training skills for high school and college students.

The bill directs that 50 percent of the appropriation be equally distributed among the 110 chapters, and the remaining half be divided based on the number of registered voters in each chapter.

The 20 chapters in the Northern Agency will receive $378,568 from the appropriation.

Tribal lawmakers also backed funding for veterans services supplied by the five agency veterans organizations.

The $1.1 million comes from the income for the Veterans Trust Fund and will support burial assistance, emergency assistance, energy assistance, weatherization assistance and other public assistance for veterans.

Chapters in the Northern Agency will receive a total of approximately $206,989 from the supplemental funding.

Resolutions to support the measure were issued by the Navajo Nation Veterans Advisory Council, the Shiprock Chapter, the Northern Navajo Agency Council and the Northern Agency Veterans Organization.

The bill went into effect after Begaye took no action within the 10-day review period.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at nsmith@daily-times.com.

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