TERO Construction Training Center first of its kind: First graduating class to receive state pre-apprenticeship credentials

Graduates of the Tulalip TERO Construction Training Center.
Graduates of the Tulalip TERO Construction Training Center.

By Andrew Gobin, Tulalip News

TULALIP – Tulalip TERO celebrated the first graduating class of the new TERO Construction Training Center June 12. Students graduating at the TCTC celebratory lunch showcased their final projects. Tribal leaders, program staff, former staff, and students shared words about what the day meant.

“What you’re doing here is building a foundation for your careers,” began Tim Wilson, a program manager for the Department of Labor and Industry. “There is nothing in this world you can’t do if you put your mind to it. This foundation you’ve built will help in that.”

Wilson congratulated the students, and honored them and staff for the work to make the TCTC program a successful reality.

“I was on the phone the other day, talking to someone back in D.C., and we were discussing national issues and apprenticeship. I was able to say, ‘Well guess what. I’ve got the first tribal pre-apprenticeship program,’ and there was silence on the line,” he said.

Tulalip’s new TCTC program is the first state recognized pre-apprenticeship program fully operated by a tribal entity. Washington State Labor Board categorized it as a “pre-apprentice” program , whose graduates are qualified to join various trade unions and their respective apprenticeship programs.  Upon completion of the coursework students are ready to safely enter the construction work environment.

“This program is a learning opportunity for our members and other Native Americans.  It gives our people a chance to learn a trade and contribute to the building of our community.  Many of the program’s graduates go on to full employment with our tribal construction department, or with one of the many construction companies in the region,” said Tulalip Tribes Chairman Herman Williams.  “We’re very proud of those who have completed the first year of our newly recognized pre-apprentice program.”

The Tulalip Construction Training program has been in existence for over a decade and over the years has been managed by both the Tulalip College Center and The Tribal Employment Rights Office (TERO) and has also been funded by different grants. This past year it reverted to TERO management and with the change has come a shift in emphasis from simply providing the vocational training program to advocating and helping with job placement after students complete the program and exposuring students to the various trades through speakers from trade unions and representatives from certification programs.  If students choose to stick with the trades as a career pathway they can expect to make a good living.

The Tulalip Tribes operates the TCTC in partnership with Edmonds Community College, offering training in the construction trades to its members, as well as other Native Americans, in order to help them obtain the necessary skills to enter the job market

“Edmonds Community College is proud to be a partner with the Tulalip Tribes in providing this opportunity for students to acquire job-ready skills in the Construction Industry Training program,” said Andy Williams from the Edmonds Community College business program.  “Many of the graduates earn employment in the construction trades upon graduation, earning good wages and contributing to the economy and the community. This is a great educational model initiated by the Tulalip Tribes, and Edmonds Community College is honored to participate.”

TERO program staff, past and present, could not be more proud of their students, honoring the work they were able to accomplish.

The ten week course provides students instruction in the basics of the construction trade.  Students are also awarded a flagging certification, First AID/CPR, and an OSHA 10 Hour Safety Card. In addition to these necessary construction skills, at the Tulalip TCTC students learn a set of values to guide and drive them towards successful careers.

Mark Newland speaks to his graduates during the Tulalip TERO Construction Training Center Graduation luncheon.Photo: Andrew Gobin/Tulalip News
Mark Newland speaks to his graduates during the Tulalip TERO Construction Training Center Graduation luncheon.
Photo: Andrew Gobin/Tulalip News

Mark Newland one of the instructors for the program, has worked with TERO for many years, formerly with the NACTEP program, offered some final words of guidance to his students. “I don’t worry about my reputation, I worry about my character. Because if you take care of your character, your reputation will take care of itself.”

Newland was praised for his dedication to the program, called  “the soul of this organization, and a great role model.”

He talked about the pride the students should feel not only about the work they’ve done for themselves, but what it means for years to come, saying, “One of the great things about being a carpenter is, for the next 20 years, you will drive by a project and be able to say to yourself, ‘Hey…I did that.’ That is something to be proud of.”



Andrew Gobin is a staff reporter with the Tulalip News See-Yaht-Sub, a publication of the Tulalip Tribes Communications Department.
Email: agobin@tulalipnews.com
Phone: (360) 716.4188

Snohomish County NAACP Celebrates Juneteenth 2013

Juneteenth is a holiday celebrating June 19, 1865, the day when Union soldiers finally arrived in Texas to spread the word that President Lincoln had delivered the Emancipation Proclamation almost three years earlier. Born in the midst of a terrible war fought to keep the United States together as a nation, Juneteenth has become a day for all Americans to celebrate the end of slavery, African American culture, and our lives together as a free people.
The Snohomish County Chapter of the NAACP will be celebrating Junteenth on Saturday, June 22nd, 11:30am to 5:00pm, at Edmonds Community College. (See Julie Muhlstein’s article in the Everett Herald) The event will include entertainment and free food. On the menu: Cajun Style Jambalaya and Etoufee Barbeque Chicken and Pulled Pork smoked hotdogs Cole Slaw. Among other things, you’ll have a chance to meet friends, old & new, listen to music & an open mic (no speeches), get a medical screening from the Snohomish Health District, and pick up a brand new directory of area businesses and organizations owned by people of color.

Grant helps EdCC support student wellness

Edmonds Community CollegeSheryl Copeland is the Counseling and Wellness Services director at Edmonds Community College.
Edmonds Community College
Sheryl Copeland is the Counseling and Wellness Services director at Edmonds Community College.

Theresa Goffredo, The Herald

One might say that healthy students and staff make for a healthy campus.

That’s the aim of a new program that’s set to begin in the fall at Edmonds Community College.

The college recently was awarded a $369,000 grant from Verdant Health Commission to create a Wellness and Health Promotion program for students and campus employees.

The ultimate mission of the new program is to keep students enrolled and employees working by helping them to find ways to address their wellness and health concerns so they can reach their goals, whether those goals are academic or professional.

“We are creating that culture of support,” said Sheryl Copeland, “That’s why I’m here, I want people to reach their goals.”

Copeland, recently named the college’s Director of Counseling and Wellness Services, will direct the new program.

The program will hire a full-time project coordinator and a part-time substance abuse specialist and two student programmers.

Copeland said she hoped to have several positions filled by early August so the program can start helping the campus community by the beginning of fall semester.

The grant will fund the program for two years and a half years. College leaders are in the early stages of talking about ways to fund the program to keep it going, Copeland said.

One of the top priorities for the college is to promote health literacy and healthy interpersonal relationships and promote the benefits of nutrition and exercise.

The new wellness promotion program can help students and staff identify health and wellness issues such as a learning disability or a substance abuse problem and get them help dealing with those issues.

“When a student is facing so many responsibilities, a lot of ‘now’ things crowd out the future,” Copeland said. “We want to look at the student holistically and get them connected to a resource to reduce the barrier, whether that’s an academic learning disability or medical or mental health concern. It’s hard to do homework when you think there’s no point.”

Copeland joked that the campus doesn’t have a force field that keeps life out and that many life stressors, such as juggling work and school or juggling a child and school, can lead to a student or staff’s failure to complete a degree or stay on the job. The new wellness and health center would offer a place for challenged students and staff to go to seek help.

Edmonds Community College has a diverse student population, made up of high school students, about 350 veterans using their GI bill, about 50 percent on financial aid, about 14 percent on disability, 25 percent in basic skills programs such as getting their GED, 31 percent have dependants and almost half are working.

So these are vulnerable populations, Copeland said.

So part of the program’s goal is to empower the students and staff to take an active role in their well being.

“Helping them be advocates for themselves,” Copeland said, and equipping them with important, lifelong self-care skills.

Unhealthy students create more of an impact in the classroom because of bad behavior that is manifested because “it’s life stuff going on how and that’s how they are exhibiting their reaction to the stress,” Copeland said.

“So let’s figure out how we can get you connected to the stress and see how that could be reduced.”

Copeland said she wants the program to look at the whole system.

“Ours is going to be much more global and more visible and accessible,” Copeland said. “We could be a model for other community and technical colleges and it’s very exciting.”