Labor Dept. launches program for laid-off Native Americans

US Department of Labor announces grant to assist Native Americans affected by fishing industry layoffs in Washington State

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor today announced a $3,390,568 grant to assist about 300 workers affected by fishing industry layoffs in the Lummi Nation, located near Bellingham, Wash.

"Layoffs in the fishing industry constitute a serious crisis for this community," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "Just as we are committed to helping workers in other communities across the country, we will ensure these workers get the opportunity to acquire the skills needed to promptly enter good jobs that pay family-supporting wages and offer real opportunities for advancement."

Awarded to and operated by the Lummi Nation, this grant will assist fishermen dislocated as a result of the decline in sockeye salmon. The affected workers will have access to dislocated worker services, which may include basic skills training, individual career counseling and occupational skills training to help them transition to stronger areas of the tribal economy. The Lummi tribal development plan indicates that job opportunities are available in Lummi- and state-owned fish hatcheries, as well as metal fabrication, outboard motor repair and equipment parts businesses.

Of the $3,390,568 announced today, $847,644 will be released initially. Additional funding up to the amount approved will be made available as the grantee demonstrates a continued need for assistance.

National Emergency Grants are part of the secretary of labor's discretionary fund and are awarded based on an applicant's ability to meet specific guidelines. For more information, visit

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