Early Career & Young Professional Development

Career Basics

About the Program

The NAFOA Institute Career Basics is a free online career readiness and personal finance program designed for 18-27-year-old Native American youths. 

The program offers coursework that 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: August 8, 2022 – February 28, 2023

Core Topics

creating a professional 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.

Program Details and Registration Information

  • Program Details
  • Who should participate
  • How to participate

August 8, 2022 - February 28, 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.


The program is free and open to self-identifying Native youth and young professionals ages 18-27 years old.


The program is online. Registrants will be sent login information to the online course.

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).
  • Individuals looking to pivot careers.

To join Career Basics, participants must:

  • Be a Native American youth/young professional between the age of 18-27 years old.
    (This includes American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, First Nations, and indigenous peoples from Central and South Americas).
  • Reside within the United States.
  • Have access to stable/consistent broadband internet connection.

Interested participants must complete a registration form to join Career Basics. After registering, you will be sent an email to create an account on CANVAS and a course code to join.

  • Your registration will grant you access to the online curriculum which can be accessed at nafoa.instructure.com.
  • Please check your email for instructions on how to join the course on CANVAS. The email will direct you to create an account and provide you with the course code.
  • If you have any access issues, please email education@nafoa.org.

What Participants are Saying

This was such a valuable experience for me because I had the opportunity to network with experienced professionals and my class about developing sustainable tribal economies. 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)
Leadership Summit Class of 2017

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 – 26 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’s youth and young professional programs email Cody Harjo, Director of Media and Learning Initiatives, at cody@nafoa.org.

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