Meaningful employment is an essential part of mental health. Finding and maintaining meaningful employment is challenging for everyone, but it is especially difficult if you grow up in Montana reservation communities where the unemployment rate is roughly 60%
This is the issue that NAMI Montana was working to tackle in HB644. We delighted to announce that yesterday it was signed into law.
This bill by State Rep Jonathan Windy Boy will “Establish tribal computer programming boost scholarship program.” Rep. Windy Boy worked with NAMI Montana for over two years on the Native youth coding internship portion of the bill. It’s amazing to see it get through.
We’re really grateful for Governor Gianforte’s push to bring this program to Montana. The Legislature’s American Indian Caucus were essential to moving this bill through. Members of the Caucus pictured in addition to Rep. Windy Boy are Senator Susan Webber, Rep. Rynalea Whiteman Pena, and Rep. Donavan Hawk.
NAMI President Tiff Hanson provided essential vision and support for our years of work on this effort. Tiff has done an amazing job of making sure that we up our game for Montana’s youth.
Special thanks to George Parisot from the Montana Department of Labor for finding a way to make this innovative internship program work!
Thanks so much to all of our supporters for allowing us to grind away on this effort for as long as we needed to. It would not be possible without your critical support.
Here is the bill text. https://leg.mt.gov/bills/2021/billhtml/HB0644.htm