Navajo Nation officials back funding for youth employment program

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times
Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez approved a supplemental funding request to help chapters hire high school and college students this summer.

FARMINGTON — A supplemental funding request to provide $3 million to help chapters operate summer youth employment programs was approved by Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez.

The summer youth employment program offers high school and college students the opportunity to gain work experience while on summer break.

It also provides students an outlet to earn money to pay for school-related expenses.

The Navajo Nation Council approved the bill containing the request for funding during a special session on June 5 in Window Rock, Arizona.

Nez authorized the amount on June 7 in Mariano Lake, where he was attending the chapter's annual commemoration for the treaty between the United States and the Navajo Nation.

"With today's signing of this resolution, Vice President (Myron) Lizer and I are demonstrating our commitment to providing opportunities for our Navajo students by investigating in their future," Nez said in a June 7 press release from his office.

The resolution 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 Northern Agency will receive $568,699 for distribution among the 20 chapters.

Newcomb Chapter Manager Norman Benally said on June 10 the hiring process for high school and college students has been underway since chapter officials set aside funding from the chapter's general funds for the summer youth employment program.

They are pleased with the president and the council's actions and the distribution received by the chapter will be combined with the chapter's appropriation, he said.

Up to eight students will be hired and work for two weeks, with the first cycle starting on June 17, he added.

They will complete projects within the chapter. Work will range from beautification projects to attending sessions that center on personal finances and life skills, Benally said.

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