Senators Klobuchar, Smith Announce Significant Investments to Support Economic Recovery for Tribal Nations in Minnesota

WASHINGTON – Today, Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith (both D-MN) announced significant funding to help Tribal communities in Minnesota recover from economic dislocation caused by the pandemic. Nearly $5 million in grants will go towards projects that help people most impacted by the pandemic in the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, and the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe – White Earth Band. 

“This federal funding will make a real difference for Tribal communities across our state, helping connect them to high-quality job opportunities in high-demand sectors,” said Klobuchar. “I’ll keep pushing to ensure our Tribal communities have the economic resources they need to thrive.”

“The pandemic took an economic toll on communities throughout Minnesota and disproportionately hurt people in disadvantaged communities,” said Smith. “These grants will help boost local economies in Native communities and help people who have been hit hardest by the pandemic get back on their feet. I will continue working to support Tribal communities and families across Minnesota as we enter a new phase in our economic recovery.”

“Mille Lacs Band families were hard hit when the pandemic economy in rural Minnesota pushed many mothers and fathers off the payroll,” said Melanie Benjamin, Chief Executive of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. “We are very appreciative of this grant because it will help our Tribal Government to empower our citizens who have been anxiously looking for new opportunities to rejoin the workforce.”

These Quality Jobs, Equity, Strategy and Training (QUEST) Disaster Recovery grants prioritize individuals whose employment has been negatively impacted by the pandemic and individuals from historically marginalized and underserved populations.  Funding will go to provide jobs and employment training and services to build career and economic resilience for America’s unemployed and underemployed workers.

Authorized by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014, Dislocated Worker grants support projects that enable unemployed and underemployed people to enter, return to, or advance in high-quality jobs in infrastructure, environment and climate, elder and childcare and other critical and growing sectors.

A breakdown of the grants is below:

  1. $2,888,545 – Bois Forte Band of Chippewa
  2. $1,000,000 – Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe
  3. $1,699,867 – White Earth Band