Day workers strip and wax the Memorial Hall dining room floor.

The Day Work Program Helps Both Workers and the Community

By Richie Corrales
Au-Authm Action News

The Day Work Program (DWP), which has been in operation since December 2011, has been very successful so far. Enrolled Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community members can come in and work for a day and receive payment on that same day for their work.

Operated under the Human Resources Department, the Day Work Program assigns workers on a rotating basis, giving them six- to eight-hour jobs throughout the Community government.

In 2008, Human Resources noticed that Community enterprises and construction companies were using a lot of temporary service agencies and realized there was a big need for that in the Community.
“We advertised it in the Community and had our first orientation with about 25 people,” said Eric Schurz, coordinator of Community Jobs and the Underfill Program.

Workers must be enrolled Community members age 18 or older. “You must complete orientation and pass a drug test,” Schurz said.

The maximum time that an individual can work in a day is six to eight hours; however, there are circumstances when an individual may work longer, for example working at one of the Community events or services at Memorial Hall, when the shift can be 11 to 13 hours. The pay is $10 an hour.

How to Apply
Interested Community members can go to the Human Resources Department, located in Two Waters Building B, or to the Community Jobs building, located south of the water tower in the tribal complex, and fill out an application with their information and work skills. The application will be submitted into the system, and the applicant will receive a phone call to attend an orientation.

“The process is simple and can take either two days or a week or two; orientation is [held] every two weeks,” said Chester Mack, Community Jobs technician. Mack himself is evidence of the program’s success. “I was working at events and general labor for about six months, and now I am a Community Jobs technician for the Day Work Program.”

There is no cost to a Community department that wants to obtain day workers through the program. The Community’s intranet has a clickable link to the Day Work Program, which outlines the steps to follow. The only guideline departments should keep in mind is that day workers are not allowed to operate any motorized equipment because they are not insured.

“This is a pilot program, and we are currently [considering] the option of someday [allowing day workers] to drive equipment,” said Schurz. “We do have a lot of people with qualifications as a machinery operator or with other similar skills. But right now we are giving people front-office clerical work or labor work.”

Thankful for the Program
“I’ve been utilizing the Day Worker Program since its inception,” said SRPMIC Community Relations Events Coordinator Yvonne Schaaf. “The Events office has always needed additional staff to ensure successful Community events. It provides us with quality staff and is important to us.”

The Day Worker Program not only provides short-term jobs to SRPMIC members, but it also gives them work experience they might not receive anywhere else, added Schaaf. “The Day Workers have handled everything from setting up staging for an event and food prep to conference registration and parking-lot assistance.”

Schaaf said the workers have to be very flexible and love working with our Community. “We have had nothing but positive feedback from the workers, and most come back when called upon,” said Schaaf. “If this sounds like something you are interested in, give the Community Jobs Program a call. We are so grateful to have a solid relationship with Eric and his staff.”

Continuing to Grow
Schurz said that they are currently looking at expanding the Day Worker Program to the Community enterprises.

So far, 412 workers have signed up for the program and attended the orientation; since December, 245 people are currently active. A handful of people have been lucky enough to find permanent jobs just by working with a Community department or on a construction site, impressing the supervisor with their work ethic.

“As of today, 22 departments have utilized our services and a total of 5,122 jobs have been filled,” said Schurz. “We are very successful. We have all ages who participate in this program, from young people just getting out of high school to elders looking to make extra money.”

Schurz encourages more departments to use the services of the Day Worker Program. “We have over 200 people that are looking for work, to gain some type of skill or training so that they can continue to grow.”

If you have any questions regarding the Day Work Program, please contact the Community Jobs Line at (480) 362-7907.

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