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SWEP students get inside look at Hard Rock operations

The SWEP tour gathered at the oculus water feature at the Hard Rock Hollywood on July 14, 2022. (Photo Damon Scott)

HOLLYWOOD — Ten students in the Seminole Tribe’s Student Work Experience Program (SWEP) had a chance to see some behind the scenes features of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood on July 14 that most people never will. The tour was also designed to offer a taste of what the nongaming side of a Hard Rock career might look like.

The high school students (and one new graduate) toured Hard Rock’s memorabilia vault; got a tour of the Guitar Hotel’s extensive pool area; had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe; and got to see a top floor VIP suite at the flagship property.

Jo-Lin Osceola, the director of the Tribal Career Development program (TCD), said the tour was the first collaborative event between her department, the Hollywood Council Office, and Tribal Professional Development (TPD), which is part of the Education Department.

“I explained to the students that the program is designed to build business skills, develop leadership capacities and give access to senior leaders,” Osceola said. “Touring the vault, pool and hotel may have been a little overwhelming, but our students were very engaged and observant throughout the day. I’m excited to start planning the next learning tour.”

Osceola is a former graduate of the TCD program and has been developing an enhanced version of it. She said 10 tribal members are currently in the program and there are nine alumni.

The TCD program entails learning the various departments of hotel and casino operations. Trainees learn from a blend of on-the-job training, specialized classroom training, seminars and workshops, best practices, mentoring and work experience. Trainees can be placed at any of the tribe’s six Florida casino locations.

“The tour was excellent,” Tomie Motlow, special adviser to Hollywood Councilman Chris Osceola, said. “I heard a couple students say they were interested in the internship at the vault and another was ready to put in her application in to work in the special events department.”

Kajir “Kai” Harriott, the Education Department’s student and professional development success coach, was on the tour to assist and answer questions. He said the SWEP students on the tour are working in a variety of tribal departments, including Seminole Media Productions, Housing, Public Safety, Health and Human Services, the Native Learning Center, Hollywood Board Office, Culture Department and the Boys and Girls Club.

SWEP is one option under the TPD umbrella at the Education Department. It also offers the Work Experience Program (WEP) and the Emerging Leaders Program (ELP). Work experience positions are paid and hours range from 20 to 40 hours a week, depending on the department and program.

For more information on TCD, contact Osceola by email at jolin.osceola@stofgaming.com. For more on Education Department programs, visit seminoleeducation.com.

Maddox Osceola checks out the piano in one of the VIP suites in the Guitar Hotel during the tour. (Courtesy photo)
Layla Petrillo tours one of the VIP suites in the Guitar Hotel on July 14. (Courtesy photo)
Participants enjoy lunch at Hard Rock Cafe. (Courtesy photo)
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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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