WIOA interns wrap-up summer internship program
August 4, 2017
Thomas R. Throssell
Gila River Indian News
From early June through mid-July, over 100 Work Force Innovation Opportunity Act interns have been hard at work in different tribal government departments throughout the Gila River Indian Community and participating in workshops learning important life skills.
In celebration of interns finishing their summer program, the Employment and Training Department held its Annual Awards Banquet on July 19 at District 3’s Head Start with performances by the Gila River Basket Dancers, presentations from the Gila River Cadet Program, Indian Nations Camp, Edit Box Program, and guest speakers, Richard Narcia and Phillip Morales.
Lana Chanda, Employment & Training Director, said the program is important to the community’s youth, because it teaches important skills that can only be learned in the workplace.
“(WIOA) is to introduce the youth to the workplace,” said Chanda. “What it takes to be an employee, the expectations of an employer, team work… we go over things that they are going to need to know, like you have to be a team player, you must have good attendance, you have to get a long with everybody, know chain of command,” she said.
Chanda said the program is a good way for youth, ages 14 – 21, to figure out what they want to do as a career, because they have the opportunity to participate in different work environments.
“The opportunity to do that and make their mistakes as they go along is really key because then they can come back another year and try something else out,” Chanda said.
For many of the interns, the summer work program was a positive experience where they not only learned about new career opportunities, they learned about themselves.
Micah Pena, a 19-year-old from District 5, who participated in the cadet program that works with the GRPD, Gila River Fire Department, and Emergency Services, said he liked everything about the summer program and highly recommends it to other Community youth.
“I made a family in the cadet program,” Pena said. “We are all closer than when we first went in there and I like the fact that we were talking about our culture and history, and learning more about what law enforcement does, and fire and EMS.”
For 18-year-old Wakinyan Redbull of District 1, this year’s summer program is his second time participating in the program, and he believes it is a great way of earning job experience.
“If you are looking for experience, the first responders program would be perfect for that, getting a look into what the police, fire, and EMS do for the tribe,” he said.
Redbull said he participated in the first responder’s program because he wants to become a Community police officer and eventually a ranger.
For more information about next year’s summer WIOA Summer Program, call Employment & Training at (520) 562-3388.