Discover Program seeks applicants for 2021

MISSION – Applications are being accepted for two more CTUIR employees to take part in the 2021 Pamáwaluukt Empower (Discover) Program, which offers supervisory – and now managerial – level training to Tribal members interested in advancing to management positions.

“Pamáwaluukt,” the Discover program title, stands for “Each person raising themselves up.” Applications for 2021 are available on the CTUIR website.

While maintaining their normal jobs, participants spend one week per month learning the ins-and-outs of different departments within the government of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.

For the past nine months – with the exception of three months put on hiatus due to COVID-19 – this year’s participants, Janet Maddern and Steven Hart, have spent one week with a different department while maintaining their normal jobs. Maddern works at Sunridge Middle School in Pendleton, while Hart works for the Tribes’ Public Works Department.

If selected, the trainees rotate between the following departments: Office of Human Resources, Department of Finance, Planning Department/Transit Program, Department of Economic & Community Development, Housing, Tribal Court, Department of Children & Family Services, Department of Public Works, Office of Legal Counsel, Office of Public Safety, and Department of Natural Resources.

The Discover training is designed to provide knowledge about each program, including supervisory roles and responsibilities, budgetary preparation and compliance, application of personnel policies, and the services provided.

In early October, Maddern and Hart were working in the CTUIR Planning Department.

“I didn’t know nothing about Pamàwaluukt, and I’ve been here five years,” Hart, 42, said. “You see how different departments handle things. You know who’s serious. It’s amazing. It opens your eyes, your heart, your mind.”

Maddern said the program helped her gain familiarity with tribal programs.

“When the government center was built, I was never in this building. I had no idea who all the different departments were and who even worked here,” she said.

Hart said he’s better able to understand the functions of the departments now.

“We just don’t sit behind the director, we go with managers, supervisors, out in the field; we get to see everything those people do,” Hart added. “I just want to thank the departments, because they’re opening their arms to us, and that’s cool.”

Matt Johnson, Pamàwaluukt’s Empower Program chair, said the program presents possibilities for participants.

“The valuable aspect of this is people get to rotate through so many departments and they get to learn about functions, services, activities they didn’t even know that the Tribe was providing,” Johnson said. “Aside from the credit you get toward a supervisory role, if you were to apply for one, you also just get that insight into the overall workings of the different programs of the tribe. I think there’s a ton of value in that. I think it would be worth it to almost anybody.”

Lorene Broncheau, staffing and recruitment specialist in the Office of Human Resources, said one potential difference in the 2021 Discover program will be to have one supervisory-level trainee and one program manager-level trainee, Broncheau said.

“Who are we looking for in 2021? We are looking for individuals who are interested in enhancing the operational knowledge of management for CTUIR. The Discover program is designed to provide opportunity for tribal members to gain experience and understanding of department functions. I encourage people who have worked for the Tribe for a really long time to still apply,” Broncheau said. “Like (Janet and Steven) had mentioned, there is some disconnect sometimes. A lot of Tribal members who have been working here for 30 years may not have degrees, but are well qualified with the experience and training they have obtained over numerous years.

“I think as a tribal member, even if it’s sometimes a supervisory or management training, you might go through the program and decide you’re fine in your current position, and that is okay. But it’s such a benefit to understand the departments, organization and understand how they work together.”

The application, open to CTUIR members only, asks for employment information, experience with technology, and experience in administrative, managerial, governance and civic affairs. According to the program’s criteria, applicants must be part- or full-time employees for the past two years; have demonstrated excellent employment practices; display an aptitude for leadership; and agree to maintain confidentiality of any sensitive information learned. In addition to those requirements, applicants must include a letter of interest, a resume, college transcripts, and three letters of recommendation (including one from a CTUIR department head).

“I would highly recommend anybody who’s interested to get more information or to apply,” Johnson said. “There’s really no downside. You get credit you can put on a resume, application that says you’ve done supervisory experience just by going through this program. … The people that complete the program are usually go-getters I think.”

Hart said he had some hesitation going into the program, but that quickly faded.

“The biggest problem I thought … They’re all inviting us, we’re going to be stepping on peoples’ toes… But everyone’s cool with it, because they know what they’re trying to do: We’re trying to raise our potential like theirs,” Hart said.

Notable past participants of the Discover program, which is in its fifth year, are Board of Trustees member Corrine Sams, as well as Briana Spencer, Iosefa Taula and Angela Hummingbird.

Completion of the Discover training module does not guarantee a promotion or reclassification, but trainees successfully completing the training will be recognized with three months supervisory or program manager experience.

Johnson praised Broncheau for facilitating the completion of this year’s program.

“I just want to praise Lorene because it was stalled for a couple months,” he said. “Departments were not wanting to have people in, but she was able to adapt the program to Zoom and get people meeting virtually. She’s got it back on track and it’s incredible she’s been able to do that.”