Job Corps Sponsors Intertribal Event
Pine Ridge Job Corps students and staff assisted with the Fourteenth An-nual Intertribal Gathering at Fort Robinson State Park, Fort Robinson, Ne-braska, on June 11th, 12th and 13th. The Pine Ridge Job Corps co-sponsored the event, along with sev-eral local businesses and organizations. The inter-tribal gathering focuses on Native American Indian Heritage and artistic per-formances including drumming, singing, story-telling and dance. There were nineteen tribes who attended the event. Some of the tribes who attended were from Wyoming, Montana and Colorado. The Maintenance and Craft Labor Career Technical Trades cut and delivered pine tree poles and boughs for the powwow dance arena. The trades also took down the structures and cleaned up after the event. The Residential Living and Recreation Departments in conjunction with the Chadron Native American Center organized two running competitions. One was for children and the other was a 5K Run for adults. Job Corps students signed up the runners during the registration process. There were over a hundred runners. Everyone who participated received T-shirts. Medals were awarded to the winners in several divisions. There was a raffle of a new boys and girls bicycle for the younger participants. The overall men’s winner was Kellan Willet. He is from Lincoln, Nebraska.
Kellan has won the 5K run for the past three years. He recently graduated from high school in Lincoln, Nebraska and has earned a cross-country scholarship to attend college. The overall winner of the women’s division was Nicole Rockwell from Denver, Colorado. Several Job Corps staff ran in the 5K Run. Pine Ridge Job Corps has assisted with the Inter-tribal Gathering celebration for last 14 years. The event has gained the recognition as one of the “Top Ten Events” in Nebraska in 2012.
Forest Fire Fighters Attend Fire Training School
The Nebraska National Forest Service held its annual spring Wild Land Fire Training School at Pine Ridge Job Corps the week of June 10th to the 14th. There were 41 students and staff who participated in the training. Some were taking the training as a refresher course. There was classroom instruction as well as actual field experience. The students were taught about wild land fire, topography, weather, fire safety, terminology and preparedness. They learned the appropriate use of water, watch out situations, deploying fire shelters and suppression techniques. A pack test was given. This requires the fire fighters to hike with a 45 pound back pack for three miles in 45 minutes. On the final day, the recruits went on a practice field exercise. A fire line was excavated. The 18” line of bare dirt is used to stop or contain a fire from spreading.
The fire line is usually built around the perimeter of the fire. The fire fighters use special digging equipment to build the line. Some of the tools are the Combi, Rhino, McCloud, Crows Foot and the Pulaski. Each tool has a particular function. The Combi is used for digging and scratching the mineral surface. The Rhino is a general brush clearing tool. The Crows Foot is a mini version of the McCloud. Finally, the Pulaski has an axe on one end and a trenching tool on the other. Many of the tools were named by their inventors or what the tool looks like. The students had the opportunity to try each one. The Trainees also learned how to dig, communicate in unison, and move along the line at a continuous pace.
Painters Do Community Work at Hay Springs High School
The Pine Ridge Job Corps Painting Career Technical Trade returned to Hay Springs High School in June to do more painting. Last year, the Painting Trainees prepared and painted the second floor of the school. This year they painted the bottom floor of the high school. Superintendent Stephen Pummel of Hay Springs Schools wrote: On behalf of the Hay Springs School District, I want to personally thank you and your students for the outstanding job you did painting the hall in our high school. These walls were painted an institutional green and the new fresh “Navaho White” color brightens the halls and contributes to a positive learning environment. Our teaching staff that have come into the building have all commented what a positive change the painting has made to the school. Students will also be excited when they return to classes and experience the freshly painted school. We also want to recognize the professionalism you and your staff demonstrated while in Hay Springs. All students were on task, focused on the project, and performed at a very high level. They arrived in the mornings, began work immediately, and we barely noticed them in the building. We appreciate the services Job Corps provides to small schools like ours. Without your assistance, we would not be able to provide a well-painted and attrac-tive school environment to our students. Again, thank you for the service you provide to the students and staff of Hay Springs Public Schools. Stephen Pum-mel, Superintendent of Schools.
Cement Masons Continue Work on Memorial Park Project
The Pine Ridge Job Corps Cement Mason’s Career Technical Trade prepared and poured a concrete sidewalk at the new Girl Scout Memorial Park located at the Chadron Community Hospital. The sidewalk will provide access to a concrete platform that will have sitting benches. The Cement Masons will also build these structures. The platform is made of pervious concrete, a concrete that allows water to filter right through it, was constructed last month. The Memorial Park originated from a plan by Girl Scout Jazzy McLain. She has achieved the distinguishable Gold Award for her efforts on the project. The park will provide an area for patients and visitors to visit or reflect. Trees have been planted in the area with the assistance of Job Corps students. Tina McLain, Jazzy’s mother, said, “We have plans to make more improvements in the future. We are very grateful for the work that the Job Corps has done for us during the construction of the park. Mr. Bobby Delgado, the Cement Mason Instructor, and the student masons have been great to work with and have performed a professional service. We are fortunate to have the Pine Ridge Job Corps in our community.”
Brick and Block Trade Demonstrates a Variety of Skills
The Brick and Block Career Technical Trade was busy during the month of June. The students used many of their acquired skills on Center projects. The trade finished laying brick for the exterior of the Health Occupations Training Building. The total project took over 2500 bricks. They also applied a decorative facade stone design around the circle located by the dormitories. The stone-like material has a flat surface on one side to make it easier to apply. This areas is being utilized as one of the garden plots. In addition, the trainees had the opportunity to lay paving stone in front of the counseling center. A basket weave design was used as the pattern.
HEALS and Trades Build Center Garden
HEALS (Healthy Eating-Active Life Styles) coordinator Amy Passero, played an intricate role in the development of the new center garden. The garden is located beside the cen-ter’s laundry building and in front of the women’s residential dormitory. Several departments participated with the project. The Maintenance and Craft Labor Crews did site preparation. They took out old concrete and brought in soil and wood chips. Amy’s husband, Gus Passero, rotor-tilled the plots. The Carpenters built a wire fence with wood lattice to keep the wildlife from eating the plants. There were also several volunteers from all the departments who helped with the planting and will assist with the weeding and watering. The students planted several items. Some of these include toma-toes, raspberries, cantaloupe, peppers, and onions. The fresh food produced by the garden will be available to students.
Bill Wegner Retires from Job Corps Counseling Department
Bill Wegner, the Center TEAP (Trainee Employee Assistance Program) Coun-selor, retired in June. Bill has worked at Pine Ridge Job Corps for the past twenty years. He assisted students who had sub-stance abuse problems in the past and was a primary counselor to the students in the male Career Preparation Dormitory. He was also in charge of TUPP (Tobacco Use Prevention Program). Bill is from the area. He attended Rushville Schools in Rushville, Nebraska. After high school, Bill served in the United States Army and fought in the Vietnam War as an Infantry-man. He served there from 1969 to 1970. Upon returning from the tour of duty, he became a certified counselor through the Chadron Community Action Agency.
Green Club Visits Local Energy Independent Farm
The Pine Ridge Job Corps’ Green Club went on a field trip to an energy independent farm located about six miles from the center. The farm is owned and operated by Chris Nerud. Chris personally gave the tour to the environmental group. The operation is powered by wind turbines, solar panels, and deep cycle storage batteries. The farm has two 2 Kilowatt wind turbines that are running most of the time in Western Nebraska. The turbines are actually alternators that generate an alter-nating current. The alternating current is changed to a direct current by a device called a bridge rectifier. Then the power can be stored in the direct current storage batteries. On the other hand, the silicon solar panels produce a direct current and can go right into the storage batteries. There are large arrays of solar panels installed at the facility. Each array is made up of modules or panels that can produce power. The panels can produce 200 watts each when the sun is shining on them. Some of the arrays are on motorized tracking towers that rotate on an axis and follows the sun through the day. The panels are hooked up to each other in a series to produce more volts and hooked up in parallel to produce more amperage or power. All of the electricity being generated from the wind turbines and solar panels flows into large banks of deep cycle storage batteries. When the batteries become completely charged, there is a regulator that prevents them from becoming over charged by diverting the excess power. The batteries are located below the surface of the ground in specially built climate controlled concrete structures. This allows any hydrogen gas from the batteries to be vented and also protects the batteries from overheating and freezing. The power from the direct current batteries is changed to an alternating current by special switches called inverters. It is the inverter that allows the farm to use an alternating current similar to the grid where power lines are being used. The wind and solar system can generate up to 30,000 watts of power or 30 KW. To put it in perspec-tive, one kilowatt hour of power would run (10) 100 watt light bulbs for one hour.
Twelve Students Walk Across the Stage in June
There were twelve students who graduated from Pine Ridge Job Corps in June. The cere-mony was held on June 28th. The guest speaker for the event was Dawes County Sheriff Karl Dailey. He emphasized several key elements that the graduates should strive for in their lives, which included honesty and integrity. The student speaker was Mung Nawk from the Office Administration Career Technical Training Program. He encouraged the graduates to do their best. He said that through his life there were many challenges and that all of the students should take advantage of the opportunities to learn a vocational trade and earn a high school diploma while at Pine Ridge Job Corps. There were six students who wore red cords. This indicated that they had donated blood at least three times per year to the United Blood Ser-vices. The average number of months the students were in the program was seventeen. There have been over sixty-five students who have graduated from Pine Ridge Job Corps since the beginning of the year.
Accommodation Team Recognized in June
Pine Ridge Job Corps recognized their Accommodation Team during the month of June.” Accommodations are available and provided to any stu-dent at Pine Ridge Job Corps who qualifies for them. Accommodations can range from assistance with physical needs like hearing impairment and eyesight problems to cognitive disabilities such as Attention Deficit Syndrome, which may require students to need extended time on tests. All new students are made aware of what type of accommo-dations that the center can offer. The Pine Ridge Job Corps Accommodation Team is represented by the Counseling, Education and Wellness Depart-ments.
Officer Teaches About High Risk Behavior
Nebraska State Trooper Chuck Elley was at Pine Ridge Job Corps this month to demonstrate the importance of seat belt safety to the students and staff. Chuck brought the Seat Belt Convincer with him to allow students to experience the impact of a vehicle traveling at a low speed and how the seat belt helps lessen the severity of the collision. Trooper Elley gave a presentation on crash dynamics to over a hundred students. He showed slides of how a car reacts when it is t-boned and rear ended. The presentation primarily focused on what happens when you are not using your seat belt. Trooper Elley gives several presentations a year on various subjects to the students at Pine Ridge Job Corps. His training exercises are always very informative, and he has made a difference in many young people’s lives.
Business Occupations Students Do Work Base Learning
Pine Ridge Job Corps and Western Community Health Resources’ Ac-counting Department work cooperatively with an on- the- job training program. Student trainees work part time there performing clerical and other office duties to earn credit for their WBL (Work Base Learning) requirement. The candidates have to be eighty percent complete with their formal training before entering the WBL program. The students go through an interviewing process and must provide a resume. This is the final phase of their training. After the four to six week internship, the students will graduate from the program and go on to seek employment in their field. Many trainees will go back to their hometowns while oth-ers will relocate.
Women Find Nontraditional Trade a Challenge
Presently, there are three young women enrolled in the Pine Ridge Job Corps Welding Career Technical Training program. All of them indicated that the trade is a challenge. Ariel Hundstad from Broken Bow said, “I like the Welding trade because it allows for creativity.” She included, “There is a lot of encouragement from the staff and stu-dents.” Charity Talbot from Fort Collins, Colorado indicated, “ I want to use the welding experience to get a job to help me pay my way through college. I would like to be an electrical engineer.” Rachel Hagge, from Grand Island, NE, said, “I really like welding and the Job Corps program because you can work at your own pace”. Instructor Duane Phipps conveyed, “There is no reason why these young ladies can’t become em-ployable welders. Their motor skills seem to be a bit more refined than the male welders.” Instructor Colten Steinmetz added, “The ladies seem to pay more attention to detail with their work.” The Welding program has one of the highest job placement rates on center. There is a demand for trained welders with the railroads, oil fields, and manufacturing sectors.