Smoke signals. (Grand Ronde, Or.) 19??-current, September 15, 2010, Page 8, Image 8

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    Smoke Signals
TGW(6)(Un) SBd
Project puts Tribal members to work with new careers
0 SEPTEMBER 15,2010
By Ron Karten
Smoke Signal $laf u riler
A couple months ago, Tribal
member Kevin Duggan of Port
land had been out of regular work
for almost two years. Same with
Tribal members and brothers,
Douglas and Bryan Gore, both of
When Chris Garcia, Tribal Em
ployment and Training specialist,
got in touch with them in April,
they all were ready for a break in
their luck. They just didn't know
that there was more than a job
around the corner.
The Gore brothers spoke during
their half-hour lunch break at the
Governance Building, where they
are part of the crew replacing the
"It was perfect for me. It wasn't a
job, but a career," Bryan said.
They're among six Native Ameri
cans in a new program that has
helped them land full-time work
with Hillsboro-based Carlson Roof
ing. Six more Native Americans
are working for roofing companies
on projects in Portland, Salem and
Dallas, said Dave Fullerton, man
ager of the Tribe's Social Services
Through Public Law 102-477,
the Indian Employment, Training,
and Related Services Demonstra
tion Act of 1992, Bureau of Indian
Affairs Workforce Development
specialist Jim West spawned a
program that could pay long-term
dividends to Grand Ronde's unem
ployed, particularly for those look
ing for specialized skills that will
help them get and stay employed.
Working with Clint Mapes, direc
tor of Apprenticeship for the United
Union of Roofers, Waterproofers
& Allied Workers, Local 49, and
the Grand Ronde Tribal 477 Em
ployment and Training program,
the federal government released
$150,000 in stimulus funds to put
together the Roofers Apprentice
ship Preparation Training Occu
pational Readiness program that
Photos by Michelle Alalmo
Tribal member Douglas Gore removes old tiles from the roof of the Governance Center building on Wednesday, Sept.
8. Gore is part of the crew working on the building's reroofing job through the Roofers Apprenticeship Preparation
Training Occupational Readiness program.
has so far put 12 Native Americans,
four of them Grand Ronde Tribal
members, to work.
Each class of six costs $15,000,
said Mapes, and the remaining
funding continues to be available
for new classes. The next class at
the Tribe begins in March.
"Obviously, we've had a problem
with retention," said the union's
Mapes. "People aren't aware of
what's involved in becoming a roof
er, and they drop out. I think it's the
physical requirement on the body.
Can your body handle it? The other
thing is the pace of a construction
worker. Many are used to working
at a slower pace."
Kevin Duggan is one who knows
how tough the job is.
"It's hard," he said, working from
ground level since he sprained his
lower back earlier in the week. Still,
he knows what he's got. "It's a good
program," he said, "because there's
not a lot of work out there now."
Two crews of six each have taken
the union's three-week apprentice-
A rf'vr m Of'"'
Tribal member Bryan Gore cleans up garbage from the reroofing project that is happening on
the Governance Center building on Wednesday, Sept. 8. Gore is part of the crew working on the
building's reroofing job through the Roofers Apprenticeship Preparation Training Occupational
Readiness program.
ship training, one in May and the
second just finished up in August.
More than providing the would-be
apprentices with a new skill, or
better said, a range of new skills,
this program promises those who
survive the training a permanent
job, as roofing jobs go.
Being up on the roof is seasonal
work, so it requires that roofers are
disciplined enough to save money
while they're working to help sup
port themselves in the off-season.
"A lot of roofers are out of work
right now," said Garcia, "but the
positives about this program are
that they were assisted with tools,
work clothes and the actual train
ing. These guys went through a
three-week course, but once they
graduated, they were pretty knowl
edgeable, like a second- or third
year apprentice."
The road to becoming journeymen
roofers could last as long as three to
four years. It requires 4,000 on-the-job
training hours and 480 related
training olass hours.
' "This is defi
nitely one of the
more positive
programs," said
Garcia, "because
we've actually
placed them in
for training and
at the end of it
there was actu
al employment.
Once they're
through the
training, con
tractors come in
and watch them
work. They need
good workers."
The training
is difficult and
thorough. Train
ees are tested on
timeliness and
prepared for
this physically
grueling work. They participated
in a mock roof tear-off that "was
intentionally demanding and lasted
most of the day," according to a
report about the progra.m;-v,
. The Gore brothers remember run
ning miles every morning as part of
the training.
They were taught the language
and lifestyle of a roofer, and saw
what a roofer's typical day looks
Trainees also reviewed trans
portation and child care issues,
personal dress, tools and grooming.
Haifa day was spent on math and a
review of the typical math problems
encountered on the job site. Job site
conflicts and conflict resolution, at
titude and expectations also were
part of the training.
"Bryan and Douglas set the re
cords for the roofers," said Garcia.
"They showed a lot of determina
tion and teamwork; both classes
were really team-oriented."
"A lot of classes go through the
regular roofer classes, and there's
a lot of competition," said Mapes,
"but this group really worked well
As apprentices, participants
are earning $16.22 an hour plus a
benefit package worth $8.65, none
out of their check. Benefits include
health, dental, prescription, chiro
practic and optical for the family
plus pension programs, and an edu
cation fund. Journeymen roofers
currently start at $27.03 an hour
plus benefits.1
The Roofers Apprenticeship Prep
aration Training Occupational
Readiness program has been so
successful, said Tribal Elder Patsy
Pullin, the Tribe's Employment
and Training supervisor, that the
Tribal 477 program has been asked
to give a presentation about it at
the National Public Law 102-477
Employment, Training and Related
Services Conference in San Diego,
Calif., this October.