Championed by a U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski, Dan Sullivan, and Congressman Don Young, the Senate on Tuesday passed by unanimous consent legislation to strengthen and reform a vital Native employment and training program commonly known as the “477 Program.” H.R. 228, passed by the House last February, now awaits the president’s signature.
“The Alaska Federation of Natives applauds the leadership shown by our congressional delegation in developing and advancing this legislation,” said AFN President Julie Kitka. “The bill improves the 477 program and, most importantly, makes it permanent – so we don’t have to keep returning to Congress to request an extension. That is great news for Alaska Natives and tribes across the country.”
The 477 program has been a very effective tool for education and training because it allows tribes and Alaska Native entities to combine employment, education and training-related grants from thirteen different programs into a single plan, with a single budget and a single reporting system.
“It is a strong example of tribal self-determination, empowering Native communities to craft the best solutions for their unique education and training needs and foster economic development, which are top priorities for AFN,” Kitka said.
The bill is a comprehensive amendment to the Indian Employment, Training and Related Services Demonstration Act of 1992, Public Law 102-477, which established what is commonly known as the “477 Program.”