Early Career & Young Professional Development

Career Basics

The NAFOA Institute Career Basics is a free online career readiness and personal finance program designed for Native American youth and young professionals ages 18-27.

The program provides opportunities for participants to improve career readiness, and personal finance skills, and advance their understanding of issues impacting tribal economies. 

Career Basics is also designed to prepare youth for the NAFOA Leadership Summit. Young professionals ages 21-27 years old participating in Career Basics are invited to apply for the NAFOA Leadership Summit.

Current Program Dates: June 23 – December 31, 2023

Program Information

  • Program Schedule
  • Who Should Participate
  • Registration & Login
Dates:  June 21-December 31, 2023

Subscribe to our Institute email list to get notified about future Career Basics dates.

Participants proceed at their own pace during their registered program dates, keeping in mind the closing date and upcoming Leadership Summit deadlines. The average curriculum completion time is 8-12 hours.

NOTE: Inactive participants will be removed from the course after 14 days and will need to re-enroll. 

Career Basics is designed to be most helpful for:

  • Undergraduate students in their Junior and Senior years;
  • Recent college graduates;
  • Early career professionals (0-2 years experience);
  • Young professionals looking to pivot careers.

To join Career Basics, participants must:

  • Be a tribal citizen or have American Indian, Alaska Native, and/or Native Hawaiian descent;
  • Be between the age of 18-27 years old during the program dates;
  • Reside within the United States;
  • Have access to reliable broadband internet connection.

Interested participants must enroll to join Career Basics using the NAFOA Institute online course catalog.

Seats are limited to 100 enrollees with an option to join the waitlist. Inactive participants will be removed from the course after 14 days and will need to re-enroll. 


What You'll Learn

creating a personal narrative

Being able to market yourself is a critical skill. You are the protagonist of your job search, the author of your goals, and the publisher who promotes your story to your audience – potential mentors, employers, and a network of people who can help you reach your aspirations.

personal finance

Budgeting is an essential tool in your framework for making sound financial decisions. No matter your age or the amount of money that you have, it is never too early to start planning your income and expenses.

intro to career pathways in economics and finance

Get insights from Native American professionals on careers in economics, finance, accounting, and business.

interviewing & negotiating

The key to interviewing is preparation. A solid resume and cover letter, coupled with a smile simply aren’t enough. Preparing for an interview is a step-by-step process you must first understand, and then dedicate yourself to completing.

"This was such a valuable experience for me...I highly encourage all Native Youth to apply to the Career Basics program because its content can be applied across many career paths in Indian Country. "
Taylor Miller
Navajo Nation

Frequently Asked Questions

Registration and Participation Questions

Interested participants must register online. Subscribe to our email list to keep up to date about current and upcoming program and registration dates.

No. Please do not register anyone other than yourself. 

If you would like to recommend someone else for the program, send us their name and contact information at education@nafoa.org, and we will extend a personal invitation.

No, participants do not have to be from a NAFOA member tribe to be eligible to participate in Career Basics.

Please contact us at education@nafoa.org explaining your interest in Career Basics. In some circumstances, we can allow those below 18 years old or over 27 years old to participate in the program. 

However, please note, you will not be able to apply for the Leadership Summit.

Yes! The program is available for American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, First Nations, indigenous peoples from Central and South Americas, etc. residing within the United States.

You will receive an email with instructions on how to access the program shortly after registration.

Your registration will grant you access to the online curriculum which can be accessed at nafoa.instructure.com.

Participants may proceed at your own page, keeping in mind program closing dates and any upcoming deadlines for the NAFOA Leadership Summit.

Typically, participants spend 8-10 hours to complete the curriculum.

Yes! We encourage all interested youth ages 18 – 27 to register in Career Basics. You can still register and participate for Career Basics during the program dates even if you are unable to attend the Leadership Summit.

General Questions

Yes. In 2019, we received good feedback from Academy participants and have improved our online youth programming. NAFOA Career Basics addresses the same principles as the Academy in a more streamlined manner.

Unfortunately, we are unable to provide course materials outside of our online program platform. You may view the program syllabus for more detailed information about the program

If you are interested in having your students participate in  Career Basics, we encourage you to ask your participants to register online and dedicate time during your program to work on the online curriculum.

Note: individuals must register for themselves using their own emails. Please do not register anyone other than yourself.

Please email education@nafoa.org for any Career Basics questions.

Thank You to Our Donors

The NAFOA Institute’s Leadership Summit, the virtual Career Basics program, and webinars are generously supported by philanthropic donations and individual donors.

To learn more about giving to the NAFOA Institute, email Cody Harjo, Director of Media and Learning Initiatives, at cody@nafoa.org.

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