The following video was created in July 2018 by six Ute Mountain high schoolers enrolled in the SEEDS Project, with the help of Tribal WIOA, the Tiwahe Grant, the Colorado Office of Film Television and Media, and the Colorado Film School which mentored the film making. For more information on how you can participate in upcoming workshops and creative technologies at Ute Mountain, please contact the Ute Mountain Learning Center.

The Sustainable Employment and Economic Development Strategies (SEEDS) grant at UMLC is a reservation-focused program providing education and training for the workplace, entrepreneurship, and youth technical skills.

At its core, Ute Mountain SEEDS initiative intends to lift modern, professional work skills among adults and youth. Doing so we aim to (1) improve earnings potential for Native Americans at the reservation, through better job access and higher wages, (2) increase clients’ ability to enroll for and complete advanced credentials, (3) deepen digital connections and practices needed for 21st-century employment, and (4) promote economic and job growth at the Tribe.

The centerpiece of the grant, therefore, is Workforce Development: a range of courses in business and professional skills along with office computer training, designed to strengthen clients’ performance in the modern workplace. With workshops in financial skills, writing, communicating, Life skills, and cultural experience, Workforce Development serves to strengthen adult practices and aptitudes for formal employment and advanced education.

Each week, classes in Microsoft Office software, Work Ethics, Problem Solving, Credit Management, Job Readiness, Interpersonal Communications, etc., occur at the Ute Mountain Learning Center with adults from a wide background of experience and knowledge. The list of courses is always growing! We also feature at least one “industry standard” software course (Photoshop, ArcGIS, AutoCAD, etc.) to add extra strength to the student’s accomplishments, as they embark on their job search. The portfolio achieved, with certificates from San Juan College and SCCC Workforce divisions, enables the student to seek and apply for good jobs in the local Four Corners market. At this point successful students may then opt to enroll in a college program of their choice (for certification/degree) AND/OR intern at one of UMLC’s associate employers in Cortez or elsewhere to practice their new professional talents.

Please visit with our Case Managers to learn more about how the program can help you land the job you really want.

Entrepreneur Incubator

A sub-component of the SEEDS grant is a program called E I (Entrepreneur Incubator) that selects 10 Native adult residents annually for “immersion learning” over the span of a year—in commercial skills, accounting know-how, project development, and small-business startup. Designed to be flexible with busy life or work schedules of adults, the learning occurs at short segments over extended periods, includes industry tours, forums, and seminars. It allows learners to concentrate efforts on planning, design and networking. These cohorts work in close connection with local business mentors, economic associations, grant aides, and small-business development agencies in order to succeed at establishing their own profit-making enterprise.

The goal is to help enrollees navigate the variety of tools, finances, marketing, legalities, vendors, and alliances, so that within 1 year they have a finished, solid business plan. Ready to go. In time, these individuals may collectively comprise the basis of a small-business consortium, dedicated to ongoing opportunities and growth. A new cohort is being organized for Summer 2018; please call us to learn more.

Youth Technology Projects

The final component of SEEDS is “Youth Tech”: a program that recruits small cohorts of Native high-school students over the year, who then develop and launch unique public productions that serve Tribal agencies and the people of Towaoc and White Mesa. The nature of the projects is driven by the use and adaptation of cutting-edge technologies (computer, internet, graphic arts, drones, robotics, GIS systems, 3D modeling, etc.) in order to create new media and resources in the community at Ute Mountain. Prior projects include desktop publishing of a Tribal newspaper supplement, and the creation and installation of a fully-functional website. Upcoming projects include digital mapmaking, landscape design (virtual reality), filmmaking, video blogs, “app” design, and music heritage archiving and mixing.

Through Youth Tech, we seek not only to invigorate youth interests in IT technologies and STEM pathways but propel their high-school accomplishment and positive connection with elders. We hope to inspire family involvement, motivation for careers, leadership strengths, and a foundation of youth mentorship for 22nd-century generations. To see how your teens can participate, please contact the Learning Center.

By “launching” learners at home, at Ute Mountain, SEEDS means to provide them with clear navigation, individualized coaching/case-management, intensive teaching for not only academics but technology and life-skills, and a global perspective with accredited colleges. The outcomes of this effort we believe will facilitate local business development, a strong competitive workforce, and the growth of an indigenous technology culture among rising youth.