Choctaw Nation’s Job for the Day Empowers Job-seekers
DURANT – The Choctaw Nation’s Job for the Day Program is a lot more than its name may seem at first.
The jobs can run for up to six weeks. Even at the end of that period, a temporary job may turn into a full-time position.
“We are going into our third year of helping Tribal members,” said Mike Fryer, Director of Job for the Day. “We’ve had a lot of growth and made many changes since the program started.”
Increased funding is allowing for more outreach into the community.
“Most of the program’s promotion has been by word-of-mouth, but that’s about to change,” Fryer said, adding that a new brochure, posters and more are on the way.
The goal of Job for the Day is to empower Choctaw members in their search for finding employment. Program participants should be Choctaw tribal members with a Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB) card, be over 18 years of age, have transportation both to and from work sites, and be either unemployed or underemployed.
Five offices service Choctaw tribal members in 10 ½ counties in southeastern Oklahoma. Each has several Choctaw districts that allow applicants to search for jobs with a reasonable commute.
The program also assists Choctaws that live outside southeastern Oklahoma.
“What we do is help those members who might live just outside Choctaw Nation borders, but still able to travel to Choctaw Nation jobs and find temporary work within our program,” said Fryer.
Fryer noted that he also looks for businesses outside the Choctaw Nation that may be hiring and that Job for the Day can send possible applicants. “If we know of a company looking for someone that we have available we will put them in contact with each other,” he said.
Since opening its doors, Job for the Day has made contact with 1,900 Choctaw members looking for employment.
“In 2017, Job for the Day placed 348 people in jobs,” Fryer said, adding that its waiting list is at 68. Less than two years ago, the waiting list stood at 250.
The program primarily places qualified Choctaw members into positions, often entry level, in Choctaw Nation programs. Success stories are not hard to find.
Christa Lampkin, for example, was divorced with two small children when she moved to Durant from California. With no training aside from her GED, she joined Job for the Day in June 2016 and was put to work in the employee cafeteria at Choctaw Nation Headquarters. After that initial work experience, Christa hired on fulltime in the cafeteria. She later applied for an opening in Accounts Payable. Last summer she became a full-time employee in the Choctaw Nation’s Finance Office.
The 25-year-old said, “I would recommend the program to anybody.” The staff will work with you whatever your circumstances are, she added. “It’s been a great opportunity,” Lampkin said.
“We work with applicants one-on-one,” Fryer said, explaining that the program tries to help clients be as prepared as possible for their job interviews. Job for the Day sometimes partners with Choctaw Nation Career Development and other employment programs to get them off to a good start.
“We truly want to help them get the right job,” Fryer said.
Job for the Day locations include:
· Broken Bow, Districts 1 & 2, Broken Bow Family Investment Center, 210 South Chahta Rd., 580-584-2045.
· Durant, serving Choctaw Nation Districts 7, 9 & 10, at the Choctaw Nation Headquarters, 529 N.16th, 800-522-6170, ext. 2962.
· Hugo, District 8, Hugo Community Center, 1304 West Victor St., 800-522-6170, ext. 4067, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
· McAlester, Districts 6, 11, & 12, 1636 S. George Nigh Expressway, 918-429-7719.
· Stigler, Districts 3, 4, & 5, Stigler Community Center, 2208 East Main, 918-967-9376.
Potential clients should be ready to provide their name, address, phone number and email address.
Fryer is based in Durant at Choctaw Nation Headquarters and can be reached at 866-933-2260 or by email, JFTD@ChoctawNation.com. More information can also be found online at careers.choctawnation.com.