TERO grads join forces with Snohomish County Public Works to benefit salmon recovery

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Salmon habitat restoration, honoring treaty rights, and tribal members showcasing successful employment within the construction trades are themes currently in action at an on-reservation construction project. Heavy construction equipment has owned Marine Drive between 19th Ave NE and 23rd Ave NE since September 10, while Snohomish County Public Works replaces a poorly conditioned culvert with one that is fish-friendly by design.

A culvert is basically an underground pipe that allows water to pass beneath roads and other obstructions. The Marine Drive culvert carries water flow from Hibulb Creek to the Snohomish River estuary, which is a fish bearing stream. 

According to Snohomish County officials, the existing 24-inch corrugated metal culvert under Marine Drive is in poor condition and undersized. The current culvert is a fish barrier, while the new larger box culvert will meet fish passage requirements.

“Originally engineers designed road crossing culverts to maximize the capacity to carry water with the smallest possible pipe size. This was efficient and economical,” stated Snohomish County representatives. “A fish-friendly design approach is a culvert wide enough and sloped properly to allow the stream channel to act naturally.”

On June 11 of this year, the Supreme Court split a decision resulting in the enforcement of a lower court order requiring Washington State to pay for the removal of over 900 culverts that have become clogged or degraded to the point of blocking salmon migration. 

It was a decision that had been passing through the courts for 17 years. The U.S. government sued Washington back in 2001, on behalf of 21 Northwest tribes, to force the state to replace culverts blocking fish passage with structures that allow fish to pass through. Because the pipe-like culverts block salmon from reaching their spawning grounds, they deprive the tribes of fishing rights guaranteed by treaty.

“The Supreme Court has made clear that the treaties promised tribes there would always be salmon to harvest, and that the State has a duty to protect those fish and their habitat,” said Lorraine Loomis (Swinomish), chair of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission. “The ruling will open hundreds of miles of high quality salmon habitat that will produce hundreds of thousands more salmon annually for harvest by everyone.”

Snohomish County officials also point out, “The ability of salmon and steelhead to swim upstream to their traditional spawning grounds, while allowing juvenile salmon to move upstream and downstream unimpeded for rearing is vital to their recovery across Washington.”

This specific culvert replacement is vital to salmon recovery and habitat restoration on the Tulalip Reservation, and it’s of particular significance to three TERO Vocational Training Center (TVTC) graduates who are part of the construction team.

Jay Davis, Jess Fryberg and Brando Jones graduated from TVTC before starting their construction careers.

Jess Fryberg (Tulalip), Brando Jones (Tulalip) and Jay Davis (Sioux/Turtle Mountain Chippewa) all trained in the construction trades at TVTC and graduated with hopes of pursuing a career pathway that was previously unavailable. Now, each is earning prevailing wages and gaining lifelong skills while working on a project beneficial to protecting treaty rights and salmon recovery.

“Construction has opened up a variety of work for me and each site I’ve worked on teaches me something new,” shared Jess, a 24-year-old tribal member. “Working on this culvert project on the Rez has been a great opportunity. Plus, a long time down the road I’ll be able to tell my kids I helped build it.”

For 27-year-old, single father Brando Jones, he moved from Tacoma to Tulalip two years ago just to have an opportunity to change his future by attending TVTC classes. It was a big move that is now paying off huge dividends as he won sole custody of his son, Dakota, and is building a solid foundation for a career in the construction trades.

“Being able to work on my own reservation while building a future for me and my son is such a good feeling,” shared Brando. “The fact that this replacement culvert will help salmon and protects our treaty rights is a bonus all on its own.”

The Marine Drive culvert construction is expected to complete in the next few weeks, while its positive impact to local salmon habitat restoration is expected to last generations.

Training for a better tomorrow

TERO Vocational Training Center  instructor Mark Newland (right) celebrating the graduates achievements.

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

On Wednesday, December 20, fourteen Native students were honored at the Dining Hall with a graduation banquet for their commitment to training for a better tomorrow. The fourteen students, five of whom are Tulalip tribal members, were the latest cohort to complete an intensive, fourteen-week pre-apprenticeship construction trades program offered by the TERO Vocational Training Center (TVTC).

As far as we know, the program, which is managed by the Tulalip TERO department, is the first and only state and nationally recognized Native American pre-apprenticeship program in the country. The program is accredited through South Seattle Community College and Renton Technical College, while all the in-class, hands-on curriculum has been formally approved by the Washington State Apprentice and Training Council.

The fifteen-week program provides curriculum that teaches a variety of core construction skills that can last a lifetime. Upon completion, the graduate’s dedication to a better future is rewarded with a wide-range of new employment opportunities now available to each graduate as they navigate the construction trades career path. In addition, students are trained and awarded certifications in flagging, first aid/CPR, and OSHA 10-hour safety training. Graduates have also received certification on three pieces of lift equipment, specifically the scissor lift, boom lift, and industrial fork lift. TVTC students graduate trained and ready to safely and productively enter the construction work environment.

“This TERO program is an amazing opportunity for any Native American, regardless of which tribe you’re from,” says Tulalip tribal member and now TVTC graduate, Brando Jones. “I was living in Tacoma when I first learned of this class. After meeting with Lynne and Robert from Tulalip TERO I knew this class was the best chance for me to reconnect with Tulalip, while at the same time building a foundation for a better future. Now that I’ve graduated, my goal is to use this experience as a stepping stone towards success. I’m really going to miss the teachers and students. To my fellow graduates I say this, ‘We have the tools to build and keys to unlock doors, so let’s get it!’”

The TVTC pre-apprenticeship program is a unique, nationally known model that supports tribal members from sovereign nations across the United States. The program is not dependent on tribal hard dollars. In fact, zero hard dollars are used to fund it. Instead, due to the dedication and commitment of so many individuals the TVTC program continues to grow and gain more recognition while being funded by the graciousness of the Tulalip Charitable Fund, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, DOT’s Ladders of Opportunity Grant, and the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Pass Grant.

This Fall session gave TVTC students plenty of opportunities to showcase their newly acquired construction-based skill set with a series of projects. Community projects included a two-day demo and refurbishing of the Hibulb Cultural Center’s fence, constructing a presentation booth for Hibulb, and making a concrete sidewalk at the apprenticeship training headquarters in Seattle.

“This particular group of students was a very together, cohesive unit,” describes instructor Mark Newland. “They looked after one another real well and were always willing to help each other out. When it came to the culminating project, building three tiny houses, the students showed a lot of passion in their work and did an awesome job.”

Under the supervision of instructors Mark Newland and Billy Burchett, the students constructed three tiny houses for their final class project. These houses, which are approximately 120-square-feet in size, are being donated to homeless families located at a yet to be named, newly created homeless village in Seattle. The insulated houses will be a major upgrade for their soon-to-be residents as they offer electricity, heat, a much safer environment and, most importantly, a measure of stability.

“TVTC works with Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI). To date we have built 18 tiny Homes for this organization, which donates all supplies and materials required. This has saved TVTC thousands of dollars as these houses are used for training purposes, and lumber that was previously purchased for class is no longer needed,” explains TERO Coordinator, Lynne Bansemer.

“This most recent TVTC session we added a specialty course – a forty-hour scaffolding course – that was developed by the Carpenters Union Training division,” adds Lynne. “TVTC is excited to bring this opportunity to our students as scaffolding is used across many trades and this allows more employment opportunities for our students.”

Since the Fall of 2013, when TERO took over the program, 141 students have graduated the pre-apprenticeship program. Of those 141 graduates, 57 have been Tulalip Tribal members, and 17 have either been Tulalip spouses or parents. That’s 74 graduates from Tulalip and 67 fellow Native Americans from all over the region who have opted to train for a better tomorrow by completing the construction training program.

TVTC has seen an increasing number of persons who balance a full-time job while attending the training program. This term they had several students who came to training school every day who held full-time jobs by working swing or graveyard shifts. These students wanted more opportunities in their future and were willing to put in the dedication and sacrifice necessary in order to open more doors.

For more information on Tulalip TERO’s TVTC program or to inquire about admission into the next pre-apprenticeship opportunity, please contact Lynne Bansemer, TERO Coordinator, at 360-716-4746 or visit TVTC.TulalipTERO.com

 

Basket weaving and story time bring families to TVTC

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

The latest cohort of TERO Vocational Training Center (TVTC) students made some pretty cool memories with their family and friends on October 25th, during the autumn session’s “Family Day”.

“We set aside a day every session to bring families together, allowing for the children of students to visit the training center and experience their parents’ success,” says Lynne Bansemer, Tulalip TERO Coordinator. “Family Day focuses on literacy as well. We partnered with Sno-Isle Libraries who come in for storytelling, library card sign-up, and book check out.”

Making the day even more impactful for everyone was being given an introduction to basketry. Instructors Heidi Miller and Bill Roeder were on hand to teach construction students and their families how to make garlic baskets in the traditional way, using round reed.

“It was a privilege to have an opportunity to get some bonding time with my son and his grandfather at Family Day. It was exciting to meet with my fellow students and get to know them a little better after being introduced to their families,” says TVTC student and Tulalip tribal member, Brando Jones, who had his father and infant son, Dakota, on-site participating in Family Day. “My favorite part was learning how to weave a small basket. I’m making it as a gift for my son. Also, it was awesome bringing my father in to get a behind the scenes look into what it is we do in pursuit of a construction career.”

The gathering of students with their young children also allowed for some hands-on experience with trade skills. Several of the kids assisted their parents adding special meaning to their personal projects. Whether it was hammering a nail or adding additional flare with some bright colored paint, the children apprentices made their presence felt.

Jessica Bustad and her young daughter, Jazmyn, spent their morning at the construction center partaking in the day’s activities in support of TVTC student, Rayvin Foster.

“I thought the TERO family day was great! All of the staff did a great job in making the day special for families,” shared Jessica. “It made me feel good to see what Rayvin has been working on and all of the different types of knowledge he is gaining from being a part of the class. Our daughter, who is 18 months old, loved running around the shop and wearing her “safety” gear they gifted to her. We were also able to sign back up for our library cards and get my daughter some books from the book mobile.”

Tulalip Health Fair and Career Expo

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

The Karen I. Fryberg Health Clinic hosted their Annual Health Fair on July 28 in the Chinook Ballroom of the Tulalip Resort and Casino. Numerous departments from the Health Clinic and the Tulalip Tribes had interactive information booths stationed at the event including the Diabetes and Wellness programs, SNAP-Ed, Child Advocacy and the Everett Optometry Clinic. The Health Clinic also provided free screenings for diabetes and high blood pressure to the community at the Health Fair.

“We’ve been doing this for many years,” explains Jennie Fryberg, Health Fair Organizer. “Karen Fryberg started this and I’m just trying to keep her dream alive. We brought in several departments; all of the booths that are here today are services that the Tulalip Tribes offer. We wanted to let our people know that these are the services that can help with preventive health.”

Across the hall in the Orca Ballroom of the Resort, Tulalip TERO (Tribal Employment Rights Office) held a Career Expo where community members seeking employment opportunities met representatives from local colleges and businesses such as Cabela’s, DigiPen Institute, Evergreen State College and Everett Community College Aviation. Tulalip also had many representatives from various departments and entities available to the speak with the community, including the Tulalip Administration CSR team, Tulalip Tribes Planning, Quil Ceda Village and Tulalip Resort and Casino Employment.

Tulalip and Marysville community members were encouraged to attend both events and were treated to an outdoor lunch on a beautiful summer afternoon. Many community members who attended the Health Fair and the Career Expo received free swag, sang carpool karaoke and had the opportunity to win summertime-themed prizes such as a Seahawks cooler, a lawnmower, a freezer chest and an air conditioner.

 

 

Learning skills to last a lifetime

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

On Friday, May 19, nineteen Native students were honored with a graduation banquet at the Kenny Moses Building for their commitment to training for a better tomorrow. The nineteen students, nine of whom are Tulalip tribal members, were the latest cohort to complete an intensive fourteen-week pre-apprenticeship construction trades program offered by our TERO Vocational Training Center (TVTC).

As far as we know, the program, which is managed by the Tulalip TERO department, is the first and only state and nationally recognized Native American pre-apprenticeship program in the country. The program is accredited through South Seattle Community College and Renton Technical College, while all the in-class, hands-on curriculum has been formally approved by the Washington State Apprentice and Training Council.

The three-month program provides curriculum that teaches a variety of construction trades and skills that can last a lifetime. Upon completion, the graduate’s dedication to a better future is rewarded with a wide-range of new employment opportunities now available to each graduate as they navigate the construction trades career path. In addition, students are trained and awarded certifications in flagging, first aid/CPR, and OSHA 10-hour safety training. Graduated also have received certification on three pieces of lift equipment, specifically the scissor lift, boom lift, and industrial fork lift. Upon completion of the program students are ready to safely enter the construction work environment and demonstrate everything they’ve learned.

“The TVTC program is a remarkable opportunity. I have learned so much throughout my 14-weeks, from building foundations to framing to electrical work to sweating pipe,” says Tulalip tribal member and TVTC graduate Rocky Harrison. “The staff and instructors are really there for the students and do their best to help everyone and make sure we all progress as a group. It has honestly been one of the best learning experiences of my life. The TVTC program is more than just a school, it’s a pathway to a better life. A life with a career, a life with choices.”

Under the supervision of instructors Mark Newland and Billy Burchett, the students constructed three tiny houses for their final class project. These houses, which are approximately 120-square-feet in size, are being donated to homeless families located at a homeless village in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood. The insulated houses will be a major upgrade for their soon-to-be residents as they offer electricity, heat, a much safer environment and, most importantly, a measure of stability for their new residents.

“TVTC works with Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI). To date we have built 15 Tiny Homes for this organization, which donates all supplies required. This has saved TVTC thousands of dollars as these house are used for training purposes, and lumber that was previously purchased for class is no longer needed,” explains TERO Coordinator Lynne Bansemer.

This Spring session also had a very big impact on the Tulalip community, making key contributions that have left an imprint on several reservation areas.

“This was a very cohesive group of students. They were always kind and respectful to each other. As far as contribution to the community, this class has led the way. They did more community projects than any class before them,” asserts TVTC instructor Mark Newland. “This group built 28 cedar benches for the Long House, a bunch of great-sized planter boxes for the Medicine Wheel Garden at the Health Clinic, and even more planter boxes that are now located outside the Youth Center. They also built two storage sheds for the Early Learning Academy.”

The TVTC construction trades pre-apprenticeship program is a unique, nationally known model that supports tribal members from sovereign nations across the United States. The program is not dependent on tribal hard dollars. In fact, zero hard dollars are used to fund it. Instead, due to the dedication and commitment of so many individuals the TVTC program continues to grow and gain more recognition while being funded by the graciousness of the Tulalip Charitable Fund, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, DOT’s Ladders of Opportunity Grant, and the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Pass Grant.

Since the Fall of 2013, when TERO took over the program, 127 students have graduated the pre-apprenticeship program. Of those 127 graduates, 52 have been Tulalip Tribal members, and 13 have either been Tulalip spouses or parents. That’s 65 graduates from Tulalip and 62 fellow Native Americans from all over the region who have opted to train for a better tomorrow and complete the construction training program.

TVTC has seen an increasing number of persons who balance a full-time job while attending the training program. This term they had seven students who came to training every day that held full-time jobs as well. People want more, and they are seeing the path to obtain it.

Among this graduating class is 22-year-old Robert Sloss, a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. Only a few short months ago, Robert was unemployed and living on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming when his girlfriend’s grandma told him about the Tulalip construction program she’d recently heard of. Figuring it was worth a shot, Robert found the application online and submitted it the next day.

After being accepted into the program, Robert packed up a few personal belongings and drove from Wyoming to Tulalip to begin his new journey. For four-months, while taking the TVTC program, he rented a camper at the Lake Ki RV Resort located 20-minutes north of Tulalip. Robert had never been to this area before and knew no one. Now, he says he’s made a lot of friends, loves this area, and looks forward to many new opportunities.

“I’m so happy to have graduated from the program. My immediate plans are to head home for the rest of my stuff, then move back to Washington and hopefully find an apprenticeship,” says Robert. “The past four-months have been such a great experience for me. Over the course, I learned so much, gained so many skills, and made come cool friends. I’m looking forward to a career as a carpenter or iron worker.”

For more information on Tulalip TERO’s TVTC program or to inquire about admission into the next pre-apprenticeship opportunity, please contact Lynne Bansemer, TERO Coordinator, at 360-716-4746 or visit TVTC.TulalipTERO.com

Tulalip Tribal Employment Rights Office Family Day

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On Friday November 4th the Tulalip Tribal Employment Rights Office (TERO) held a “Family Day” at its vocational training center. Children, parents, and uncles and aunties gathered together at the training center to paint the bookshelves this years students have built as their first construction project. The school year started in September. Families enjoyed the painting and then had a wonderful hot lunch of fried chicken and salad.

Tulalip Employment Rights Office (TERO) provides training, hiring, and contracting to Tulalip members, their families, and spouses. The Tulalip Vocational Training Center (TVTC) was open in 2014 to provide an opportunity for students to learn a variety of trade skills in order to enter into the construction trades. TVTC trains Native Americans in the trades but offers so much more. After receiving a grant from the Kellogg Foundation two years ago TVTC has been implementing a new philosophy with additional services. That philosophy looks at the individual seeking training but also offers services to the larger family in order to help create success for the next generation.

TVTV staff interacts with students and help to build a foundation of trust and communication. It is through this process that the student’s family needs are identified and the program is then able to identify obstacles that may be interfering with student success. They may help pay for childcare, the education needs of the student, as well as help identify education barriers their children may have; they create linkages and bridges to address these barriers. An adult is not going to have success if they are overwhelmed by worry for their children. Basically, the idea is that in order to create a healthy and productive employee means identifying, and assessing the family stressors, wand then provides the extra services, which in turn creates healthier families; thus, the second generation model.

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The training program is accredited through South Seattle Community College and Renton Technical College; all the students taking this program earn 24 college credits.

Teri Gobin, director of the Tribal Employment Rights Office (TERO): “What we do is enforce preference of hiring and contracting. A part of that is getting the work force ready. We created the TERO vocational training center back in 2001 to respond to this need. The Washington State Apprenticeship Trades Council now recognizes it as the only pre-apprenticeship program for Native Americans, and the only program of its kind in the nation that is recognized by a state.”

Lisa Telford, the family career navigator, explains the different types of certificates students receive: “First Aid, CPR, AAP, Flaggers, Forklift, Boom Lift, Scissor Lift, OSHA 10; they get all those certifications at the end of the program. The students think about what unions or trades they are interested in and we work on filling out applications towards those places.”

Mark Newland, TERO Vocational Training Center instructor, talking about projects they work on during the 13 week course: “The students get introduced to all the facets of the trades: safety, blueprint drawing and reading, what the construction business is all about, building a personal project to scale with cut list. We do all the ground up, building footing, foundation wall, framing, they learn how to frame windows and walls. They build rafters, calculate scales, and learn about plumbing and electrical.

Lynne Bansemer, TVTC program coordinator, says: “Students will be able to take the information they learn and apply it into their own lives and houses.” We want to start working with Heritage High School, bringing in the students to start helping build Tiny Houses. It would be empowering to the kids who come and work on a project like this to see there is more things going on in life, be a part of people thanking them for building these houses.

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What other local projects have TVTC been involved with? “We do a lot of projects for the tribe right now, the gardens you see at the Boys and Girls Club, the Clinic, and we built those. The students help build the garden structure and get an idea for what it’s like to grow your own food.”

Family day is about kids coming in and seeing what their parents are doing every day, how they are bettering their future, being truly focused, and successful people.

Talking to a student, Ralph Flores, about why he joined the program “It was definitely something I was interested in and I had to go for it; I couldn’t pass it up.”

Nicholas Brown and Caleb Hatch, two students in the TERO program, traveled far to be in this program “We came from Wyoming to take this program. We traveled and are staying at a relative’s house, trying to find opportunities that we can take advantage of in Washington. I lived here before, I grew up in Washington, I enjoy it here.”

When asked why they took this program they responded, “You get to learn the basic knowledge of construction trades, power tools, and learning the process of soft skills. I’ve learned presentation skills like proper dress codes; you don’t want to go in wearing a suit and tie. You want to go into an interview ready to work, steel toe boots, here I am, let’s go work.”

 

TERO, paving the way to greater opportunities for Tribal members

Ivan Solomon demonstrates the sturdy nature of his bookcase.Photo/Kim H Newland

Ivan Solomon demonstrates the sturdy nature of his bookcase.
Photo/Kim H Newland

 

 

By Kim H. Newland, Tulalip News 

 

It’s no surprise that education leads the list of actionable attributes that comprise the Tulalip TERO vision statement.

The savvy folks at TERO know that education, ranging from early learning to meaningful vocational training, can lead to greater opportunities for Tribal members of all ages.

TERO Director Teri Gobin, “Sha-Ha-La-Los,” believes that the newly renamed TERO Vocational Training Center will continue to grow and evolve, expanding well beyond what were the traditional native income sources earned from the “three Fs: fireworks, fishing and firewood.”

Under the TERO umbrella, the construction training program continues to thrive thanks to the generous and consistent support of the Charity Table administered through the Tulalip Foundation and ongoing funding through the Washington State Department of Transportation. Recent infrastructure changes include a dynamic $500,000 grant (over three years) from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and a new affiliation with Renton Technical and South Seattle Community Colleges. TERO dollars, a Tri-County WorkSource grant and other grants also support enhanced learning and help provide diverse and stable funding sources for the program.

Both Gobin and TERO Client Services Coordinator Lynne Bansemer are quick to point to partnerships and strategic alliances with others as a major reason for the continued success of the program. Along with building personal relationships with the trades and labor unions they also praise the work of Susan Crane with SkillUp Foundation for her efforts to help secure the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and other supporting grants.

While the financial impact of the substantial Kellogg grant may seem obvious, the requirements for funding also serve to enhance the program and are closely aligned with the deployment of additional resources. Along with improved tracking of students after training, the grant will help fund a new family and career navigator and allow for broader exposure to trades and apprenticeship opportunities.

To help meet the Kellogg grant goal of multi-generational impact, the students constructed small bookcases which served as the inspiration for a collaborative activity during a family open house held Nov. 6. On Saturday, family members visited the classroom to share in the completion of the project by helping to paint and decorate the bookcases before taking them home.

Site Specialist Billy Burchett credits the staff at TERO for their work to help strengthen the program. He feels that taking a more “college-like” approach, beginning with the application and registration process, has resulted in a stronger commitment and higher level of engagement from the students.

While the ultimate goal is steady employment with a living wage, each student arrives at this moment from a different perspective.

Ivan Solomon is seeking a better life for his family. Helping to raise his niece and nephew, Solomon is confident that the knowledge he’s gaining will lead to steady hours and a consistent income. He’s really enjoying the chance to leave the classroom for field trips and understands that the chance to learn additional employability skills like CPR, forklift operation and flagging are helping him with his goal to “take his life back”.

 

Dante Jones glues a back piece to his bookcase project.Photo/Kim H Newland

Dante Jones glues a back piece to his bookcase project.
Photo/Kim H Newland

 

Although he admits that his presence in class is the direct result of an insistent mother, Dante Jones is confident he’ll be able to walk out of this class and earn a starting wage of $20 an hour working as an apprentice in a variety of trades. Yet, he believes his earning potential is much higher, “I’m looking further than a $20 per hour job, and I know I can do it!” Jones confidently  asserts.

Applications for winter quarter with classes starting February 1 are available through the TERO office. Contact Lynne Bansemer at 360-716-4746 for further information.

Tiny house builders celebrate graduation

 

Tulalip Tribes’ Construction Training Program graduates and instructors. Photo/Mara Hill

Tulalip Tribes’ Construction Training Program graduates and instructors.
Photo/Mara Hill

 

by Mara Hill, Tulalip News

As summer approaches, students everywhere are graduating from school, or moving up a grade. On June 15, thirteen students from the Tulalip Tribes’ Construction Training Program graduated a 10-week course. A graduation ceremony was held at the Hibulb Cultural Center to mark the event.  The Tulalip Tribal Employment Rights Office partnered with Edmonds Community College to offer a trades program to students, providing curriculum that teaches a variety of construction trades and skills. This program gives students better opportunities for full-time employment and skills that will last a lifetime. Upon completion of the course students are certified in the basics of construction trade, awarded a flagging certification, First Aid/CPR, and an OSHA 10 Hour Safety Card.

Under the supervision of instructors Mark Newland and William “Billy” Burchett students constructed two tiny houses for their final class project. These houses are approximately 120-square-feet and offer stability and a safer environment for residents of Nickelsville, a homeless encampment located in Seattle where the houses are being donated.

The insulated houses will offer electricity and heat, along with a Native American touch. Tribal members James Madison and Ty Juvinel designed the doors of the houses.

John Hord, an Ojibwe tribal member and Nickelsville resident, spoke at the graduation about the impact these homes will have on people now and in the future and wants, “all to understand that it’s not a short-term gift. The lifespan will be touching lives 15-20 years from now.”

 

John Hord, Ojibwe tribal member and Nickelsville resident.Photo/Mara Hill

John Hord, Ojibwe tribal member and Nickelsville resident.
Photo/Mara Hill

 

Hord was pursuing his bachelor’s degree in psychology, human services and urban environmental issues and working in construction before being displaced from his home a few months ago. Hord plans on returning to school and combining his education and construction skills to mentor other Native Americans on his reservation, White Earth, in Minnesota.

The TVTC graduates received a diploma and ceremonial hammer. Congratulations to Matt Charles, Stuart Charette, Arron Charley, William Duran, Philip Falcon, Corey Fryberg, Jess Fryberg, John Primeau, Abrahn Ramos, Maurice Riley, Cole Stanger, Darwin Weaselhead and Sky Weaselhead.

Protecting unique and special employment rights of Native Americans

TERO Commissioners Tisha McLean, Ryan Gobin, Helen Gobin-Henson, Eliza Davis and Dale Jones. Photo/Micheal Rios

TERO Commissioners Tisha McLean, Ryan Gobin, Helen Gobin-Henson, Eliza Davis and Dale Jones.
Photo/Micheal Rios

 

by Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Within the past four decades, Tribal governments have made tremendous strides in identifying and protecting the rights, resources and opportunities of their people. Tribes are effectively exercising self-governance to protect their water, timber, hunting, fishing and gaming rights in order to garner maximum economic returns and opportunities from the use of their resources. This type of effective advocacy is being brought to the protection and assertion of Indian and Native Employment and contracting rights by approximately 300 Tribal and Alaska Native village governments that have established Tribal Employment Rights Ordinances and TERO enforcement programs (source: Pacific Northwest TERO).

Here at the Tulalip Tribes we are fortunate enough to have a fully staffed TERO department that is knowledgeable and well-equipped to protect the unique and special employment rights of Native Americans. Tulalip TERO is a member of the Pacific Northwest TERO region, which covers Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Northern California, and portions of Nevada and Alaska. Our national organization is the Council for Tribal Employment Rights. We are also fortunate to have the Tulalip TERO Commission comprised of Chairman Dale Jones, Vice-Chairperson Helen Gobin-Henson, Secretary Tisha McLean and Commission members Eliza Davis and Ryan Gobin.

Together, the TERO department and TERO Commission serve to access more employment and training opportunities for Native Americans and their families, and to provide more business and economic opportunities for businesses owned by Native Americans. Since the unemployment rate in Native communities remains high, Tribes must take strong actions to protect the employment rights of Native American people.

In protecting the employment rights of Tulalip citizens, the Tulalip TERO department and Commission administrate the TERO Program to enforce and ensure workforce protections, preferential employment and contracting rights. They assist and refer clients for education, training and services to succeed and enhance their career and economic opportunities. Their mission is to ensure preference in employment, contracting and economic opportunities, while providing vocational training opportunities with the outcome of employment.

The current TERO structure in place has been widely successful, evident in the current Tulalip preference scale found in the Central Employment hiring guidelines and the ever expanding vocational training center that has made employment dreams a reality for so many tribal members.

As the Tulalip Tribes, tribal membership, and policies continue to evolve, so does the social and political climate for Tulalip TERO. Each member of the TERO Commission, each a Tulalip tribal member, has a different set of objectives they would like to see achieved in 2015.

 

TERO Commission objectives to accomplish in 2015:

Dale Jones works for Tulalip’s Elders Program and is Chairman of the TERO Commission: “Equal employment and an equal wage for all of our tribal members. That’s the reason I’m here. I hear of a lot of discrepancies in hiring, people getting promoted in our tribe without advertisement. I want to put a stop to that. Can’t keep putting our head under the table and say everything is going to be okay.”

 

Helen Gobin-Henson works as the program manager of the Care Giver and CHR program and is Vice-Chairperson of the TERO Commission: “I would like to make sure that all the contracts given out don’t go to just one business. That’s what I feel is happening today. Every time there is a contract it just goes to the same business owner. And I want to make sure that Indian preference is enforced in the hiring process because that doesn’t always happen. The other thing is I want is for TERO tax to be the law that is upheld.”

 

Tisha McLean works as the executive assistant for Adult Services and is Secretary of the TERO Commission: “When I first got on the Commission I wanted to bring more training to our people. I know the tribe has worked on that with Admin, but there are a lot of other trainings that our tribal members who aren’t working could be doing. The tribe has done really great with our vocational training center and the construction classes they are offering to our tribal members who aren’t getting jobs. That then ties in with the preference code. There are tons of jobs that are currently filled with non-tribal members that tribal members could be in. It’s my opinion that every position within the tribe could be filled with a tribal member. If they aren’t currently eligible for a position then they need to be worked with to let them know what areas they need to improve because Central Employment isn’t doing that. They just say you aren’t eligible because of this or that, but they need to be telling them why and what they could do to better themselves to become eligible for future positions. They aren’t doing that and we are seeing more non-tribals fill entry level/front line positions, these position should be filled with tribal members.”

 

Ryan Gobin works as a Tulalip police officer and is a TERO Commission member: “My main goal is to try to help with fairness in business, so that everybody gets an opportunity, so that not just certain peoples and certain families get certain jobs and certain contracts. My goal is to create fairness across the board. While on the Commission I’ve also gained more of an interest in training, like what we’ve been doing with the vocational training center. It’s been a huge success and I’m proud to be a part of it.”

 

Eliza Davis works as a Native American liaison for the Marysville School District and is a TERO Commission member: “I would say my main objective is to see our TERO code be upheld like it should. Also, I’m very excited about the vocational training center. It’s a huge opportunity for our tribe and for the whole region really, to have our TERO be a part of something that big.”

 

While the objectives may vary from person to person, the overall goal is the same; to protect the employments rights of Tulalip citizens while providing them with the training and education to improve career and economic opportunities.

 

Tulalip TERO contact information

Direct line, 360-716-4747

Lynne Bansemer, TERO Client  Services Coordinator, 360-716-4746

Tory Chuckulnaskit, TERO Manager, 360-716-4750

Teri Gobin, Director, 360-716-4743

Linda Henry, Administrative Assistant, 360-716-4744

Ginny Ramos, TERO Compliance Officer, 360-716-4749

Robert Henderson, TERO  Compliance Officer, 360-716-4751

 

 

Contact Micheal Rios at mrios@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov