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Program delivers workers to job 4-28-07

ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) - Midstates Printing in Aberdeen found the temporary employees it needed by looking 100 miles away to the Crow Creek Indian Reservation.

People from the reservation, near Fort Thompson, are driven by van to the Aberdeen business, work three days and are taken back to the reservation.

Norman Taylor, 26, is one of 30 people from Crow Creek employed in temporary positions at Midstates. He has worked there for two weeks.

“It's a good opportunity,” he said. “I hope it (the program) grows.”

Dave Burgard, general manager of Midstates Printing, said Midstates sometimes experiences a temporary labor shortage during certain times of the year. He said Roger Feickert, owner of Midstates Printing, came up with the idea as a way to add to Midstates' temporary labor pool.

Lisa Lengkeek, director of the Tribal Employment Rights Office on the Crow Creek Reservation, said the program benefits Midstates Printing and the people of Crow Creek.

“We have a work force here (on the reservation) but no work,” she said. “So let's go out and find work and see if we connect the work force and the work together.”

A van brings a group of employees at a time to Aberdeen. The employees each work three, 12-hour shifts. The van takes them back to the reservation and picks up another group of employees, who come to Aberdeen and work three, 12-hour shifts.

The employees stay at a motel in Aberdeen at their own cost.

The Crow Creek reservation suffers from a 90 percent unemployment rate - some of the Midstates employees from Crow Creek have never had jobs before, Lengkeek said. Now, she said, they're learning banking and budget management skills.

Lengkeek wants to expand the employment program to include the Sisseton and Cheyenne River reservations and would like to involve more businesses in the employment program.
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