Advocacy

Opening Up Vocations Through Native Youth Coding Internships

By December 21, 2021No Comments

Montana’s reservation communities struggle with poverty and unemployment. (Department of Labor) Montana’s native youth are more than twice as likely to die from suicide as their peers. (Blank Foundation)

There is a deep relationship between meaningful work, poverty, and mental health. Providing access to meaningful work is essential to helping people and communities improve their mental health.

At the last Montana Legislative Session, Representative Jonathan Windy Boy led a Native Youth Coding Initiative with Governor Greg Gianforte and NAMI Montana.

The Request for Proposal for that program was just released last week. It is due on January 18th. You can read the full RFP at this link.

The program will fund part-time jobs for Montana’s native youth to learn how to do computer programming. Grants are available to organizations that:

  • Deliver a self-paced computer coding training program to eligible youth in tribal communities to prepare students for in-demand technology occupations;
  • Incentivize successful completion of training milestones by providing cash or other equivalent stipends to eligible youth;
  • Work with industry partners to develop youth apprenticeship and registered apprenticeship opportunities, internships, and other programs;
  • Provide eligible youth with information and exposure to computer science-related career and job opportunities.

There are a number of different self-paced programs that organizations can utilize as a platform to deliver this program. Here are three learn-to-code platforms that offer educator accounts to allow the program leader to assign and monitor tasks.

NAMI Montana is really grateful for all that the Montana Department of Labor has done to bring this program to life.

It is a small initiative, but we believe it could be an exciting opportunity for Montana’s native youth to explore their talents and how they may fit into careers in technology. Please consider sharing with anyone you believe may be interested.

Thank you!

Matt Kuntz

Executive Director
NAMI Montana