(Left) CJ McCabe, Lynn Mathis, John Morford, Karen Hald, Lori Frederick, Annie Loutzenhiser, Amy Halversen, Vanessa Quevedos, Todd Rickenbach, Justin Hagg, Deb Cottier, and Keesha Petties
DELTA ( Dawes-county Entrepreneur and Leadership Training Academy) participants toured the Pine Ridge Job Corps Center on March 15th. The Academy is an entrepreneur-focused leadership training program that teaches community building skills, exposes them to great role models and networking opportunities, as well as teaching the members about leadership traits that can turn them into successful community leaders. They also learn about leadership styles, community collaboration, legislative and government functions, entrepreneurship and education. DELTA visited the Pine Ridge Job Corps Center to gain an understanding of the program, how it benefits those who attend, and its impact on the economy of Dawes County. After the group had lunch, they were given a presentation by Community Business Liaison, Don Richards and Career Transitional Specialist, Kim Olson on center operations and objectives. The focus of the presentation was Pine Ridge’s economic contribution to the community and surrounding area by doing works program projects. Several of the projects that the Center was actively involved in over the years were discussed. Some of these projects include the building of the Senior Citizens and Chamber of Commerce Buildings in Chadron. The Center has worked on numerous local civic buildings, including the Courthouse, Police Station and City Hall. Pine Ridge built the announcer’s booth and restrooms at Chadron State College. Students have painted the bleachers and poured concrete at the Dawes County Fairgrounds. Mr. Richards also talked about the different trade offering at Pine Ridge Job Corps. Pine Ridge provide training in nine career occupational training programs. They include Painting, Cement Masonry, Brick and Block , Craft Labor, Office Administration, Certified Nursing Assistant, Building and Grounds Maintenance and Carpentry. Kim Olson conveyed, “Pine Ridge presently ranks 16th in performance out of 130 centers across the nation.” The ranking is based upon factors such as job placement and completion rate. The center has been operating at capacity of 225 students. Don Richards went on to discuss the financial impact to the community from a perspective of how Pine Ridge employs over 60 people, including private contractors. In addition, he indicated that a significant sum is spent in the city of Chadron for medical needs, clothing, fuel, food and other services for students. After answering questions from the group, they were given a tour of the Center by Student Government Representatives, Vanessa Quevedo and Keesha Petties. Deb Cottier, the DELTA coordinator, organized the group. She is the Executive Director of the Nebraska Northwest Development Corporation. Deb is also a member of the Pine Ridge Job Corps Industry Council.