Apprenticeship Training Program apprentices gather together to celebrate the accomplishments of their peers as they receive their journeyman certificates. Photo by Kasey Kauakahi

Apprentices Honored at Luncheon

By Tasha Silverhorn
Au-Authm Action News

The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Apprenticeship Training Program held an Apprentice Recognition Luncheon for the 43 current participants in the Apprenticeship Program on Friday, August 16, at the Salt River Community Building.

These apprentices have taken training in the Carpentry, Computer Operator and Hotel Associate fields and are now all out working in the field for on-the-job training. The apprentices have been placed with Community departments and enterprises such as Public Works, Community Relations, the Tribal Court, Salt River Materials Group, Casino Arizona and many more.

Journeyman Certificates Awarded
During the luncheon, students who completed their on-the-job training hours received their Journeyman certificates. Afterward, one apprentice in each field was named Apprentice of the Year.

SRPMIC President Diane Enos and Vice-President Martin Harvier opened the luncheon with some encouraging and congratulatory words.

“Thank you for doing what you’re doing and what you’re going to do,” said Enos. “As you know, one of our core values of us as O’odham/Piipaash is to take care of ourselves and provide for our families, and you just took a big step, because I was told that you were getting into permanent positions of employment for the most part. That says a lot for not only [each of] you as an individual, but your family as well, and your Community. I also want to express thanks to folks that are a part of the program: the support staff, those in the other [Community] departments that have assisted [the Apprenticeship Program] in some way, and those departments that are working with this process to get employment to our people.”

Harvier explained that everyone has a different path in life, and that if you didn’t enter a career or college right after high school it is not too late.

“It’s so important [that you have taken] the steps [that brought you here]. The steps you are taking right now are for the future, what you are going to build for your family and who you are going to be,” said Harvier.

Following the remarks by Enos and Harvier, the Journeyman certificates were presented to those who have completed their on-the-job training hours in the Carpentry, Computer Operator and Hotel Associate programs. Each participant received a plaque, a certificate and a monetary award.

Carpenters who received their Journeyman certificates were Wilbert Lee, Jose Mariscal, Norman Osif, Alfred Scott and Joseph Seletetewa. Receiving Computer Operator Journeyman certificates were Marlene Brown, Juana Conger, Salina Enos, Susanna Guerrero, Molly Sanchez, Jayme Sine and Joseph Tahmahkera.

Two apprentices received Journeyman certificates in the Hotel Associate program, Briegh Howard and Anne Thomas.

Journeyman apprentices Marlene Brown and Wilbert Lee spoke about their experiences in the Apprenticeship Program and how it has changed their lives, personally and professionally.

“I am very proud to say that I completed the Computer [Operator] apprenticeship program. I attended the class with two of my dearest friends, Wade Hayes and Susanna Guerrero. I was blessed to have them both by my side because they encouraged me and helped me to keep on going to class. We all carpooled every day thanks to Wade’s mom, Mildred Hayes, who took the time to take us to class every day and pick us up; thank you, Mildred,” said Brown in her speech to her colleagues and peers.

“The class was really hard at times, but our class worked together to get things done when it got really tough,” continued Brown. “A lot of us have grown in that class, and I would like to say thank you to everyone in the Apprenticeship Program. They are the ones who helped encourage me to keep going and [stay] positive. Since I’ve been in the program, I have accomplished a lot in my life. I have made some bad choices in the past, but since I’ve been in the class I have got full custody of my son. I was hired on permanently with Community Employment, attended college classes along with my eldest daughter, [and] I got a car now; we all have our own cars now, Wade, Susanna and I.”

Brown said that her proudest moment was when she walked in the graduating class of 2013 at Gateway Community College.

“I am grateful because I can be that role model to my kids, the rest of the Community and my peers who might think they can’t do it,” said Brown.
Lee encouraged fellow participants in the Apprenticeship Program to keep up their good deeds and to battle for their goals.

“I encourage each one of you students who are training [to know that] it will pay off,” said Lee. “If you ever get frustrated during your training, just remember practice makes perfect. This is a good opportunity for us to show that we are capable of taking these tasks and applying them to real life.”

Apprentice of the Year Awards
The Apprentice of the Year Awards went to apprentices currently on the job who have exemplified hard work, dedication, initiative and drive, and of course they are team players at their worksites. Each recipient received a certificate of achievement, a plaque and a monetary award.

In the Hotel Associate program, the Apprentice of the Year award went to Philip Demmert. Demmert “has never missed work and jumps on task with his job; he jumps in to assist right where he is needed,” said Deborah Jones of the Talking Stick Resort. “He is a quick learner and is always eager to learn more.”

The Heavy Equipment Apprentice of the Year is William Phillips, who works with the Public Works Cemetery Crew. According to his fellow crew members, Philips has been an outstanding employee and is an asset to the Cemetery Crew. He was honored for his attendance, professionalism and ability to learn new duties of the job.

The Apprentice of the Year award in the Carpentry program was presented to Carlos Almaraz. Almaraz is dedicated to his training and learning. He has worked with many work crews, including concrete, tile and roofing. He has assisted with many bathroom and kitchen remodeling jobs. According to his supervisor in carpentry, his attendance is excellent and he is a trusted employee who can handle the responsibility for taking service orders on his own.

The Computer Operator Apprentice of the Year is Kasey Kauakahi, who works with the Community Relations Office. His supervisor and co-workers said that Kauakahi has excelled in the various divisions at the Community Relations Office where he has worked, rotating through Digital Signage, Au-Authm Action News, Events, Media Relations and the Talking Stick Entertainment Destination. His attendance has been on par, according to his supervisor, and he has no complaints working after hours and on weekends or holidays. He shows initiative and a great work ethic.

After the awards presentation, the event continued with lunch catered by Famous Dave’s. In recognition of their hard work and dedication in their on-the-job training, all 43 members of the Apprenticeship Program received a gift, a lawn chair with the Apprenticeship and Training Program logo.

If you are a Native American and are interested in any of these fields of employment, watch for upcoming information on sign-up dates for the Apprenticeship and Training Program or contact the Community Training and Employment Development office at (480) 362-7950.


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