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Motivated job hunters flock to career fair

Career Fair01HOLLYWOOD — The Tribal Professional Development program, which helps Tribal members pursue careers in the Tribe’s various departments, recently hosted a career fair to show about 100 go-getters how to do it.

Held July 31 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, the event encouraged attendees to ask questions about certifications and academic degrees required for employment in Tribal departments.

“It was a positive exchange between departments and Tribal members,” said Marie Dufour, Tribal Professional Development program manager.

The event was geared to help people align academic pursuits with Tribal job opportunities in the future.

“The goal was not to fill positions today but to look to tomorrow to see what they need to do to pursue their dream job,” Dufour said.

Employees from 70 Tribal departments manned tables filled with information and answered questions from prospects. Resume building and dress for success workshops further assisted job hunters.

“I’m learning what every department does,” said Amy Dimas, Immokalee library assistant.

Participants ranged from students to adults of all ages, employed and unemployed. Justine Osceola just finished two years in Seminole Gaming’s Tribal Career Development program and came to the Career Fair to look around.

“I’m open to everything, but I eventually want to wind up as a chef,” said Osceola, who also attended culinary school. “But maybe I’ll go into the government side of the Tribe; I’m not sure yet.”

Departments as varied as Accounting and Finance, Education, Community Development and Tribal Historical Preservation Office (THPO) shared information with prospective employees while looking for suitable candidates for their departments.

“We are looking for people who have a passion and interest in preserving their culture,” said Kate Macuen, THPO Collections manager.

Most departments contain jobs that require a variety of education levels. The Community Development Department, for example, has positions where a bachelor’s degree in engineering, architecture, planning or management is necessary. But other jobs require only technical school certification or a high school diploma. Jobs exist for every skill level.

Members of the Accounting and Finance Department know of some people’s aversion to math but still optimistically promoted their department during the event.

“We want to get the fear of accounting out of there and let them know it’s a rewarding career field to look into,” said Cindy Pino, Accounts Receivable manager. “Business in general is a great career.”

High school students and brothers Alphonso and Aaron Alvarado came to look for interesting opportunities and ways they could help their Tribe in the future.

“I want to work with kids and with the Tribe,” said Aaron Alvarado, 17, a senior at Immokalee High School. “I want to help kids stay off the streets and keep positive.”

This was the first year the Tribal Professional Development program held a career fair and attendees had positive feedback. Participants who responded to a survey after the event thought it was excellent or very good, while Tribal departments were pleased with the exposure they got.

After talking to people in other departments, one participant in the Work Experience Program asked for a transfer to a department in which he has always had interest.

“Overall, the Tribal members and departments were happy with the event,” Dufour said.

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Beverly Bidney
Beverly Bidney has been a reporter and photographer for The Seminole Tribune since 2012. During her career, she has worked at various newspapers around the country including the Muskogee Phoenix in Oklahoma, Miami Herald, Associated Press, USA Today and other publications nationwide. A NAJA award winning journalist, she has covered just about everything over the years and is an advocate for a strong press. Contact her at beverlybidney@semtribe.com.
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