Cover Story

The new journeymen stand proudly with their certificates as they celebrate their recent achievement. Pictured (l-r): Monica Martinez, Tawna Silversmith, Ramona Verdugo, Delores Quesada, Chester Mack, Theresa Flores and Patrick Shaw. Not pictured Dennie Wescogame, Sherica Pavatea and McCoy Aday.

Hard Work Pays Off Participants Receive Journeyman Certificates

By Richie Corrales
Au-Authm Action News

On August 26, Community Employment Manager Crystal Banuelos of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Human Resources Department welcomed all participants of the Apprenticeship Training Program to the 2011 Apprenticeship Recognition Luncheon, held at the Community Building. Ten individuals received their Journeyman certificate for completing the training and hours needed in the Computer, Carpentry, Heavy Equipment or Hotel Associate programs.

The SRPMIC Apprenticeship Training Program, which falls under the Human Resources Department, provides training and preparation skills for individuals looking to find career opportunities. Participants go through training that can last up to a year, and from there they move into on-the-job Training (OJT), working as apprentices in various Community departments. The training hours vary for each career area.
Once the apprentices complete their OJT hours, they receive their certificates of completion and Human Resources and Higher Education hold a ceremony for the graduates.

Community member Eric Schurz was the guest speaker at the luncheon. Schurz advised the participants not to be afraid and to always ask questions about something that they were not sure about. He also shared his own experiences in making his way up the ladder of employment, starting as an employee with the wild horse range to becoming a Community Jobs and Underfill coordinator in Human Resources.

“We use the program to share with the students about areas including employer expectations, what to expect when gaining employment, developing study skills, getting opportunities to tour organizations relevant to their trade, practice on-the-job training with their instructors and supporting them with their goals,” said Banuelos. “About 80 percent of those in the program are Community members, [and] with the most recent classes, we have seen more and more applying.”

Each apprentice is accountable and responsible for filing the hours they accrue through their period of OJT. Once they reach the required amount of hours, Human Resources submits that documentation to the Bureau of Apprenticeship with the State of Arizona and they provide their certification, which can be completed at anytime throughout the year.

Presentation of the Journeyman Certificates
Congratulatory speaker Margie Benitez, recruiting manager at Casino Arizona and Talking Stick Resort, spoke about goals that the journeymen made and their completion of hours. “That is what we are looking for here at Casino Arizona,” said Benitez, referring to people who are motivated and committed to reaching their goals. Benitez also serves on the Apprenticeship Committee.

“I never had operated a computer prior to completing the course—my only computer skills consisted of turning on a video game,” said Chester Mack, who is now Community Jobs Technician for Human Resources. “Completing this class gave me the ability to take on a new career, a career that I would have never thought I would be able to do. But obtaining the necessary skills gave me the confidence.

“If you are considering the Apprenticeship Program, I say ‘go for it,’” added Mack. “But you have to want to do it, and give it your best shot. It’s not going to be easy, but nothing worthwhile is. If you put in the work, it will pay off.”

Mack said he loves his job assisting Community members in finding work and helping other staff members. “I am very fortunate to serve my Community. I could see myself staying at this job serving the Community as long as I can.”

“We are so proud when the apprentice makes the commitment to reaching journeyman status,” said Banuelos. “There are many apprentices who use the on-the-job training aspect of the program as a piece of their resume and work history, and every quarter we receive news that someone has gained full-time employment.”

Banuelos said that in the past in the Apprenticeship Training Program there was not a lot of tracking of students, but now the Arpprenticeship Training program works closely to make sure they know what the students, past and present, are working on.

“On behalf of the Apprenticeship Training Program, we want to express our sincere congratulations to all of those who have completed this accomplishment,” Banuelos said. “We are very proud of them and look forward to the next group who will do the same.”

New Opportunities Available
The Apprenticeship Training Program is very successful for students when they make the commitment to meeting the expectations of the program.

Because the program has had so much interest recently, it holds an advertisement period for the trades that are open at the time. This is the time when interested applicants will have the opportunity to pick up and complete an application. Applicants must follow the application process thoroughly, completing an application, providing necessary documents and completing a physical exam within the specified time frame. Applicants who follow this process will have the opportunity to have an interview with Apprenticeship Training Program staff. The selected applicants will then be notified and are required to successfully pass a background check and drug screening prior to beginning their related classroom training.

For more information about how you can begin your new career, call the Apprenticeship Training Program at (480) 362-7950.

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