US Department of Labor renews contract with Talking Leaves Job Corps


Catherine Wester, of Tahlequah, graduated from Talking Leaves Job Corps in 2002 and received a job placement with Cherokee Nation Human Services, where she currently works full time.

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. —Cherokee Nation Talking Leaves Job Corps received another five-year contract from the U.S. Department of Labor to continue helping students get a high school diploma and ready for higher education or the workforce.

“The newly awarded contract will give Talking Leaves Job Corps the opportunity to continue the tradition of success," said Diane Kelley, executive director of Cherokee Nation Career Services, which administers the program. "I could not be prouder of the center director, the management team and all the staff for their hard work and dedication to the success of our students and the Job Corps program.”

Last year, Talking Leaves Job Corps helped 180 students receive High School Equivalency certificates, 236 complete job training and 203 secure jobs. Currently, the program serves 197 students, both Native and non-Native from northeastern Oklahoma.

Catherine Wester, 28, of Tahlequah, says the program is beneficial to many youth. She graduated from Talking Leaves in 2002, which led to a job working in the tribe’s human resources office. Wester and her husband, also a Job Corps graduate, credit their ability to raise their three sons on the careers and life skills they developed at Talking Leaves.

“Job Corps was a secure and safe place to live while I learned how to obtain a career,” said Wester, who has worked for the Cherokee Nation for 11 years. “The instructors and residential staff were truly motivational and understanding. They gave me a chance to do something different with my life.”

Talking Leaves Job Corps is a career technical training program administered by Cherokee Nation’s career services department and contracted by the U.S. Department of Labor. For more than 35 years, the center has been helping area youth improve their quality of life through academic training to obtain GED or High School Equivalency certificates and job placement. The five-year contract went into effect in December.

For more information on Talking Leaves Job Corps, 5700 Bald Hill Road, visit or call 918-456-9959.

Cherokee Nation News Release
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