Tribal youth get taste of the working world

This year the Southern Ute Indian Tribe had 49-tribal member youth employees that participated in the Youth Employment Program (YEP) put on by the Southern Ute Education Department.

The YEP Coordinator Mary Guenther, and Youth Employment Aide Natelle Thompson had contacted each of the students and asked who was all interested in the program.

The people who were interested set up an interview with either Guenther or Thompson, they each asked questions as to how will this program benefit us in the future, etc. The mission statement for the Youth Employment Program is,“To provide jobs for the Southern Ute Youth within our community.”

“The Youth Employment program is a good opportunity for the youth, I highly recommend other youth to be involved with the program. I have been in this program for two years and the biggest thing that I’ve learned was to work hard and be able to get a better experience, so I can be prepared for jobs in the future,” Issac Suina youth employee worker at the Southern Ute Indian Montessori Academy, said.

“This program is an awesome experience, it’s giving young people within our tribe the idea of what it takes to have a job,” Keifer GoodTracks-Alires youth employee worker at SunUte Community Center said.

GoodTracks has been in the program for the past four years.

“Throughout all the years in this program we have been trying to reach bigger and better objectives within not only our jobs but with ourselves … so we could better prepare ourselves for what comes in the future, and it’s good what [Guenther] is trying to do … she is trying to get the youth more involved in the community.”

According to Goodtracks-Alires, the program is good the way it is and he highly recommends it to fellow tribal youth.

“It gives you amazing opportunities to get more involved in the community,” he said.


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