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CSSS recognizes latest ACD, WEP graduates

Taylor Holata, left, and Cody Motlow (Courtesy photos)

HOLLYWOOD — Two tribal members have graduated from the work experience programs at the Center for Student Success and Services (CSSS). The tribe’s work experience programs fall under the Tribal Professional Development (TPD) umbrella.

Taylor Holata is the latest graduate in the Advanced Career Development (ACD) program.

“I had a great experience. From the initial application process, throughout my time in the program, and even now that I’ve graduated, the TPD team was and continues to be a vital resource for me,” Holata said. “Anytime that I had questions, or was unsure of certain protocols, I knew I could turn to TPD for support and guidance.”

ACD is a leadership development program for those who seek full time employment with the tribe. It is comprised of no more than five participants at any one time. To qualify you need an associate degree.

Holata is now the loan administrator and special projects coordinator in the tribe’s Executive Operations Office at tribal headquarters in Hollywood.

“If I could give one piece of advice to my fellow tribal members, it would be to take advantage of the opportunities that you are afforded,” Holata said. “We are so privileged to be a part of this community, and I encourage everyone to make the most of it and get involved where they can.”

Meanwhile, Cody Motlow has graduated the Work Experience Program (WEP) and is now the tribalwide sustainability coordinator under the Heritage and Environmental Resources Office (HERO) on the Big Cypress Reservation. She also volunteers on the tribe’s food sovereignty committee, which is part of the climate action planning committee.

WEP is for those who are starting to think more long term about their job interests. Participants need to be at least 18, have a high school diploma, and go through an application and interview process. The program runs for up to two years.

Motlow progressed to WEP from SWEP, the third work experience program. Students enter SWEP, the Student Work Experience Program, while still enrolled in high school; the minimum age is 14. It is designed for younger students wanting to get their feet wet and try something new.

Both Holata and Motlow worked with TPD supervisor Kerlande Patterson, student and professional development success coach Kajir Harriott, and senior specialist Hurvens Monestime on their respective paths. For more information on the tribe’s work experience programs, contact Patterson at kerlandepatterson@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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