The Navajo Nation and partners plant to construct the first traditional Navajo Hogan prototype in addition to creating a training center within the Navajo Nation for Tribal members to learn carpentry skills and build much-needed homes on the reservation.
“We had a good discussion about partnering with the United Brotherhood of Carpenters to further explore opportunities to bring exceptional carpentry training to the Navajo Nation, which would lead to greater construction productivity and home building,” said Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez. “Thousands of our Tribal members move off the Nation for training, education, and jobs, and they contribute to the success of non-Navajo companies and communities. We are trying to reverse that trend by creating training opportunities on the Navajo Nation and harnessing that potential for our own peoples’ benefit.”
The United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC) General President, Douglas J. McCarron; Carpenters International Training Fund Executive Director, Bill Irwin; and Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer recently met to discuss next steps.
So far, an official partnership has been inked between the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters (SWRCC) and the Navajo Nation —announced during a tour of the Carpenter International Training Center (ITC) in Las Vegas. This 1.2 million square foot campus sits on 23 acres, contains 70 classrooms, 600 guest rooms, and full dining facilities, and a complete fitness center. More than 15,000 UBC members train annually at the International Training Center.
“Members of the Navajo Nation have culture and traditions that I have always admired. They have a reputation of a strong work ethic, craftsmanship and a professional attitude. Ideally, Navajo Carpenters will be an integral part of not only building quality projects within the Navajo Nation; but working close to home and spending less time on the road,” says Frank Hawk, Vice President, SWRCC.
The first phase of the housing would be focused on Navajo veterans and their families. This partnership with the SWRCC will allow the Nation to address the issue of inadequate numbers of housing for veterans on the reservation.
The longer-term goal is to build training centers (inspired by the ITC) on the reservation in order to build housing by the Navajo for the Navajo.
Members of the SWRCC will visit the Navajo Nation in September to discuss the initiative further, a press release from SWRCC states.