The American Jobs Act and Indian Country

Posted By Paul G September 9th, 2011 Last Updated on: September 9th, 2011

While the current economic crisis has challenged all Americans, we know this to be especially true for Indian Country where some reservations face unemployment rates of up to 80%.  Though the economic challenges of Indian Country are significant, President Obama is committed to forging a brighter future with tribes by identifying and developing long-term solutions that will help break the generational history of unemployment in Indian Country.

Last night, the President announced the American Jobs Act, a jobs and growth plan that reflects a commitment to increasing access to jobs for all Americans. With unemployment among Native Americans at an unacceptably high rate, the President believes that inaction is not an option. That’s why the President has put out a plan to increase the pace of job creation, and why he has called on Congress to act on this plan.  The American Jobs Act will make a difference in Indian Country.  For example:

  • Tax cuts to benefit over 20,000 Native American-owned small businesses.  The President is proposing tax cuts that will go to every small business nationwide, providing incentives to hire and make new investments.
  • An estimated 1.5 million Native American workers will benefit from the extension of the payroll tax cut. By extending the payroll tax cut for employees next year, the President’s plan will help increase the paychecks of 1.5 million Native American workers – providing them with more money to spend in their communities and support their families.
  • The extension of unemployment insurance will benefit Native Americans and their families, while providing targeted support for the long-term unemployed.  In addition to extending unemployment insurance, the President is calling for reforms and tax incentives that will help the long-term unemployed – including the disproportionately high rate of Native Americans who have been looking for work for more than six months – find a job.
  • “Pathways Back to Work” will support subsidized jobs and summer/year-round jobs for low-income Native American youth and adults. In an environment with an unacceptably high unemployment rate for Native American youths, the President is proposing to build on successful programs like those used in the Recovery Act to create jobs for those hardest-hit by the recession.
  • A commitment to rebuilding and revitalizing communities across the country will target investments to the communities hardest-hit by the recession. The President’s investments in infrastructure include a school construction initiative that will provide $125 million for schools funded by the Bureau of Indian Education and $12.5 million for tribal colleges, and a new initiative to expand infrastructure employment opportunities for minorities, women, and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, including Native Americans.

Read more about the plan.


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