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Believe the HYPE: TPD launches new WEP training

You’re going to have to juggle some acronyms with this one.

The Tribe’s first professional development training for those in its Work Experience Program (WEP) took place Jan. 15. It was the first, but not the last.

WEP is a branch of Tribal Professional Development (TPD) and generally consists of those who are just out of high school and contemplating the next steps of their education and career.

The new training is based on the HYPE program, which stands for “Helping Young People Excel.”

HYPE is described as an immersion curriculum with several parts. It was presented to the WEP group by James Randolph. The approximately five-hour training took place at the Native Learning Center in Hollywood.

Randolph was first contracted to work with the Tribe in 2004. He uses the HYPE program to help people “tell their story,” he said.

“In-between you have some opportunities to work together and individually,” Randolph said.

WEP participants went through a lineup of topics throughout the day – mastering first and last impressions; working with others and handling conflicts.

There were role playing exercises to improve communication skills and learn job interview techniques.

‘We’re the next up’

Before Randolph began the training, Tribal member Rollie Gilliam gave some opening remarks.

Gilliam is enrolled in the Advanced Career Development (ACD) program and works at the Center for Student Services and Success (CSSS).

Advanced Career Development participant Rollie Gilliam speaks to students in the WEP program Jan. 15. Photo: Damon Scott

He spoke about his first job at about age 10. He was raised in Fort Pierce, later working on the Brighton Reservation. His family had him working with pigs for about $8 an hour.

“The worst thing you want to say to a parent is: ‘I don’t have anything to do,’” Gilliam said with a smile.

He’d leave home at 5 a.m. or 6 a.m. The day consisted of cleaning pens, dealing with pig slop and so on. It was dirty, but he said it built a work ethic that he still carries with him today.

After graduating high school, Gilliam entered WEP, too. (CSSS also offers a Summer Work Experience Program – SWEP – for those still in high school).

Gilliam, 32, went on to earn a master’s degree in criminology and criminal justice and entered the ACD program in 2019.

“We come in all shapes and sizes. Through being a part of [ACD], it’s good for community, it’s custom made and belongs to us,” Gilliam said. “This is our home. You’re here for a reason.”

Gilliam is currently the only Tribal member in Hollywood who is working in the CSSS department.

“[Working for the Tribe is] a family business at the end of the day. We’re the next up at bat. We have a lot of opportunity in front of us,” he said. “Make sure you all have what you need. Be encouraged. People are watching. Our goal is to be an example.”

Gilliam’s sister, Tomasina Chupco-Gilliam, is a project specialist at the Native Learning Center and is also enrolled in ACD. The Gilliam’s cousin, Aaron Tommie, works in the executive director of operations office as part of ACD as well.

Tribal support

Sitting in the training room at the NLC were those not only enrolled in WEP, but others who were there to support them.

Ervina Capricien, the head of Tribal Career Development (TCD), was on hand as was Jim Osceola, the director of hospitality for the Seminole Gaming Administration (SGA).

There were plenty of CSSS staff, too, including director Michael Giacchino, assistant director Alvaro Perez, student success coach Kajir Harriott and TPD senior specialist Hurvens Monestime.

Hurvens was the lead organizer of the new training. He’s been with the Tribe for about six months.

“The reason why we brought you together was to give you the opportunity to meet as a group,” Hurvens said. “There aren’t many chances for us to work with each other – we’re spread out in different departments, reservations … there’s not a lot of interactions.”

Hurvens said the day was designed not only to socialize, but to learn and to appreciate the opportunities offered in WEP.

“It’s not just [about] punching in and out every day,” Hurvens said. “We are hoping you all become the future leaders of the Tribe, future managers and supervisors. That’s the objective and goal. This is for you – all of these various departments and resources. So take advantage of it.”

The tentative dates for future HYPE trainings are Feb. 19, March 18, April 22 and May 20.

Contact Hurvens at 954-989-6840 ext. 10537 or via email at hurvensmonestime@semtribe.com.

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Damon Scott
Damon is a multimedia journalist for the Seminole Tribune. He has previously been an editor and reporter for digital and print media in Florida and his home state of New Mexico. Send him an email at damonscott@semtribe.com.
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