Char-Koosta News

The Official Publication of the Flathead Nation online

August 12, 2010

SKC survey to find tribal employees educational needs

By Lailani Upham

CSKT Polson Representative Steve Lozar tunes in to SKC's career services Roger McClure on the college's promotion to send a survey to all CSKT employees in an effort better assist employee student needs. Lozar added that more training and courses should be offered to people newly appointed to corporate board positions. He said he feels the job assigned to board appointees is critical and dealing with multi-million dollars decisions would be worth money spent on the courses/trainings. (Lailani Upham photo)
CSKT Polson Representative Steve Lozar tunes in to SKC's career services Roger McClure on the college's promotion to send a survey to all CSKT employees in an effort better assist employee student needs. Lozar added that more training and courses should be offered to people newly appointed to corporate board positions. He said he feels the job assigned to board appointees is critical and dealing with multi-million dollars decisions would be worth money spent on the courses/trainings. (Lailani Upham photo)

PABLO — Salish Kootenai College is making efforts to increase more tribal employees to take classes or better yet receive degrees and certificates by using the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes’ educational leave.

Part of CSKT’s benefit package allows full-time employees a maximum of eight hours per week of paid educational leave for an education undertaking that enhances their current job positions.

Last Tuesday, August 3, SKC staff Roger McClure, enrollment director Cleo Kenmille and former president Joe McDonald approached the Tribal Council with an idea of sending out a quick survey to help better serve the employees’ educational needs.

The survey consists of ten “yes or no” questions.

McDonald thanked the Tribal Council, including councils of previous years in their support of SKC. He said it is his desire to continue to provide an educational opportunity to current tribal employees. McDonald agreed that the first step to do was conduct a survey amongst the CSKT organization.

Kenmille indicated that the college does have some employees exercising their educational leave; however, the numbers could increase by conducting the survey. “We would like to present the survey to all tribal employees to help develop all we can for them,” she said.

McClure addressed the Council that the survey would be a beginning of a continuing effort to provide educational opportunities to tribal employees that would help them (employees), their families and the tribal membership.

Questions arose from a number of council members

regarding employees taking time off for classes.

CSKT Ronan Representative Carole Lankford asked if the college offers hospitality training and customer service courses, and suggested it as an idea to build on employee’s positions. Kenmille added that the college considered in the past offering certificates and associate degrees in hospitality. The SKC representatives would explore the possibilities with senior administration.

Dixon Representative Terry Pitts inquired about the purpose of the request of whether SKC wanted CSKT tribal employees to take more classes per the request of supervisors and department heads beyond the hours allowed to enhance job skills or if the request or survey was something beyond what was already in place. SKC representatives responded that they understood the CSKT tribal employee policy to get the okay through supervisors and departments heads; however, the college wanted to gain a better understanding of why many tribal employees that came through SKC did not finish certificates or degrees they were pursuing.

According to the CSKT Ordinance 69(c) approval or denial of educational leave is at the discretion of the employer.

McDonald added that with a broader educational background employees could gain a broader perspective on the job. He said cultural classes carry an importance to tribal members.

McClure said SKC is exploring more ideas beyond the survey to help tribal employee students reach their educational goals.

Polson Representative Steve Lozar suggested that SKC offer courses or trainings on board member duties and responsibilities. Lozar addressed that appointees to boards should be well equipped to make major decisions on multi-million dollars issues, and there are situations when there is a lack of experience or understanding from members that are selected to serve. He said it would be money very well spent to help train individuals that need it.

CSKT Chairman Bud Moran included in the discussion that Bob Gauthier had developed a “primer” that was used to educate and train board members before and had a copy that he could provide to the college. SKC representatives agreed that they would discuss the board training idea and promote it to the administration and keep the council informed on the progress.

St. Ignatius Representative Joe Durglo suggested that SKC get on the agenda to attend the CSKT department head/supervisor meeting on August 11.

The SKC survey to go out to all tribal employees was motioned by Arlee Representative James Steele, Jr. and seconded by St. Ignatius Representative Charlie Morigeau.

The survey is expected to go out to employees next week.

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