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.”

Training for a Better Tomorrow

 

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

 

On Monday, December 12, fourteen Native students were honored with a graduation banquet at the Hibulb Cultural Center for their commitment to training for a better tomorrow. The fourteen students, six of whom are Tulalip, were the latest cohort to complete an intensive three-month pre-apprenticeship construction trades program offered by our TERO Vocational Training Center (TVTC).

As far 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 life time. 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. Upon completion of the program students are ready to safely enter the construction work environment and demonstrate everything they’ve learned.

 

 

 

Tulalip tribal member and Rediscovery Coordinator for the Hibulb Cultural Center, Inez Bill, opened the graduation ceremony with words of encouragement and guidance.

“Accomplishing this graduation day is a great milestone for the students. They worked hard to get here. I’d like to thank them for the benches they made that will be a part of our longhouse. Also, the three tiny homes they made that will be donated to the Seattle homeless is such a good cause. The work that they’ve done is real world work and it will add to the Tulalip and Seattle communities. I raise my hands to that quality of work. The teachings and values of our work is to do things in a good way, to help and add to our community, and I think you all have met those traditional values. You have honored our ancestors by putting your best foot forward and doing the best you can. I’m truly happy to be a witness to what you all have achieved on this special day.”

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, are being donated to homeless families located throughout the Seattle area. 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.

 

Tulalip TERO was recently awarded the ‘Housing Hero” award by the Low Income Housing Institute for donating the most tiny homes to the Seattle Homeless. Including the three to be soon delivered, Tulalip TERO has constructed and given a total of eleven tiny homes to those in most need.

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, Ladder of Opportunity, and the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT).

Since the Fall of 2013, when TERO took over the program, 108 students have graduated the pre-apprenticeship program. Of those 108 graduates, 43 have been Tulalip Tribal members, and 11 have either been Tulalip spouses or parents. That’s 54 graduates from Tulalip and 54 fellow Native Americans from all over the region who have opted to train for a better tomorrow and complete the construction training program.

 

Francis Napoleon of Quinault (left) communted from Tacoma every day for the opportunity to graduate from the TERO program.

 

Among this graduating class are two members of the Northern Arapaho tribe. Nick Brown and Weston Shakespeare both journeyed from their reservation in Wyoming to attend the heralded TVTC class. Also among this cohort of graduates is 18-year-old Francis Napoleon of Quinault. After just graduating Aberdeen High School, Francis was informed of the Tulalip TVTC class and was determined to open up more possible career paths for his future. He packed up a few essential belongings and moved in with family just outside of Tacoma (the closest relative he had to Tulalip), and then proceeded to wake up every day at 4:45 a.m. so he could drive himself to class in Tulalip by 8:00 a.m. Following class he’d hop back in his car and drive back down to Tacoma, where he’d usually arrive at 6:00 p.m. Every day for three-months he endured a monster commute and marginal free time in order to obtain the one-of-a-kind pre-apprenticeship certification offered by Tulalip TERO.

“My immediate plans are to move back to Aberdeen and hopefully go to work for a construction company close to home,” says Francis, who had zero previous experience with construction tools prior to the class. “I’d recommend the program to any Native American. I loved it. The learning experience, the instructors, and my fellow students made it a great three-months.”

 

 

 

Contact Micheal Rios, mrios@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov