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Cherokee Nation taking summer youth employment applications

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation is currently taking applications through April 18 for its Summer Youth Employment Program.

The program allows Native youth ages 16-21 who live within the tribe’s 14-county jurisdiction to gain work experience during an eight-week period and also draw a paycheck.

“The Summer Youth Employment Program is one of the most rewarding programs we administer in the career services department,” Diane Kelley, executive director of Cherokee Nation Career Services, said. “Anything we can do to help our youth is gratifying. This program is a way to assist the youth with an income during the summer months, and it allows them to get an idea of what type of career they may want to pursue later in life.”

The Cherokee Nation has helped hundreds of youth find summer jobs every year since the program’s inception in 1977. This year, more than 500 eligible participants will be paid by the tribe and placed at job sites based on their interests, including positions at the Cherokee Nation, local veterinarian clinics and floral shops. The program starts June 2 and ends July 25.

To be eligible for the program, applicants must be a member of a federally recognized tribe, live within the 14-county service area of the Cherokee Nation and be 16 to 21 years of age. Applicants under the age of 18 must have a parent or legal guardian present while turning in the application. Applications may be completed and returned at any of the 12 career services offices throughout the Cherokee Nation.

Samantha Lowe, of Tahlequah, participated in the program in 2012 and 2013 while attending Connors State College in Warner. She was placed within the tribe’s career services department as a clerk, covering the front desk, answering phones and doing data entry. Following her participation last summer, she was offered a full-time position in Cherokee Nation Career Services.

“Summer Youth was an excellent way for me to get hands-on work experience and financial help while I was going to school,” Lowe said. “It means everything that it eventually led to a full-time position with the tribe, because financially I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

For more information on SYEP, call 918-453-5555.