American Indian and Alaska Native students and recent graduates have a dynamic and powerful resource available to them: the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). The BIA is housed in the U.S. Department of the Interior and was established almost 200 years ago for the purpose of establishing a trust and governmental relationship between federally recognized tribes and the U.S. They aim to enhance the quality of life, promote economic opportunities, and oversee the trust assets of American Indians, Indian tribes, and Alaska Natives.
In addition to providing services and resources related to enhancing the overall quality of life, the BIA is also committed to employing, developing, and sustaining a high-quality workforce that powers those services and resources. In order to accomplish this goal, the BIA has dedicated programs and financial assistance for those attending an institution of higher learning.
Their internship program is for active students enrolled at an accredited college or university. It provides training and experiential learning opportunities for those studying natural resource management fields. The goal is to recruit more natives into natural resource management and STEM careers and retain that talent for future developmental internships and early placement into entry-level positions.
Additionally, the Bureau of Indian Education, housed within the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs, facilitates a Higher Education Grant Program which distributes scholarships and support funding for students attending colleges and universities. For more information and eligibility requirements, click here.
For those recent graduates, you can apply for federal jobs specifically within Indian Affairs. The BIA is unique in that its Indian Preference Policy allows certain persons of American Indian or Alaskan Native to receive preference when filling vacant positions. You can find specific job search links for positions in the BIA or BIE on the jobs page here.