Native Learning Center hosts grant training sessions for tribes

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HOLLYWOOD — The Native Learning Center’s newly renovated training facility in Hollywood drew a vast array of representatives from the Seminole Tribe and throughout Indian Country for four days of grants management and organizational development training in mid-September.

“It’s a good refresher to find out what’s new, kind of like an accountant,” said Chris Welch, a technical assistance specialist in community and cultural outreach for the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma. “The laws change every year. They change things, so I need to be up to date on all the changes so I can continue to educate my people as well.”

Properly maintaining grants and making sure structures are in place to meet requirements were at the forefront of the training.
“You can have people write grants, which is a great skill to have, but in order to maintain and make sure you are following all federal regulations is a really important piece that we take seriously because we want people to make sure that they get their full amount and they’re meeting all the regulations so that they can apply for other things in the future with that same structure,” said Ilene Miller, director of Training and Technical Services at the Native Learning Center.

Topics in the grants management portion covered by guest instructors during the first two days included new compliance standards, monitoring and reporting requirements, procurement standards, subcontracting and bidding, and cost requirements.

“We’re a non-profit, so we need to know a lot about grants. This is very, very important that we learn and understand this and learn how to do it correctly,” said Cheryl Prevatte, president of the Native American Indian Association of Tennessee.

Chuck Fisher, a certified grant writer from the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians in Michigan, said grants are becoming more and more important with his tribe.
“A lot of concepts related to grant management have to go into the writing of the grants as well. The training is going to help me do that more proficiently,” said Fisher, who has attended other programs through the Native Learning Center in previous years. “I think they do a lot of great work here, and this is another example.”

The organizational development portion – held during the final two days – tackled planning, developing, operating, evaluating, leadership, implementing and other topics.
Attendees from the Seminole Tribe included employees from the Accounting, Education, Environmental and Housing departments. Overall, about 15 different tribes and communities throughout Indian Country were represented among the 30 attendees. Everyone was provided with thick manuals and flash drives loaded with information to bring back to their workplaces.

“We have a diverse group of tribal employees, directors, housing staff, managers, grant managers, grant writers, tribal leaders, finance directors,” Miller said. “We want them to be able to spread what they learn here at the Native Learning Center back to their communities.”

“This was a wonderful opportunity that gave us the foundation for that,” Prevatte said. “This was a fabulous program. Very educational.”