“To help Native American entry level job-seekers of North Central Montana improve self-esteem while developing the self-awareness and interpersonal ‘soft skills’ needed to successfully enter into and advance in the world of work.”

Workin’ With Tradition was developed to fill a need within Northcentral Montana communities and the greater Montana region. Young Native American job seekers were encountering challenges in obtaining and keeping jobs due to cultural differences and misunderstanding of the “unspoken rules” of the workplace. These factors, along with a lack of transportation, posed major obstacles for the strong potential of the Native American workforce.

WWT was established by Opportunity Link, Inc., a nonprofit organization that strives to reduce the effects of poverty through training, transportation, and networking. In 2009, Opportunity Link developed a branch of their organization for transportation along the Hi-Line, the North Central Montana Transit system (NCMT). This transportation system created a reliable way for people to travel from Fort Belknap and Rocky Boy reservations, through Havre, and to Great Falls.

Having alleviated one of the major employment challenges for young Native American job seekers, Opportunity Link embarked on a mission to provide a training program that would instruct participants in workplace-acceptable conduct. Through this program, participants learn the inter- and intrapersonal skills necessary for dealing with conflict, communicating with supervisors and coworkers, managing one’s time, assessing one’s strengths and weaknesses, and acquiring the resources needed to improve one’s quality of life.