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From the Desk of Interim Executive Director Denise Nicole' Franklin: Building Bridges to the Future - Empowering Tribal Members in Construction

Dear Community,


I am excited to announce an impactful initiative from Palmer Scholars in collaboration with the Puyallup Tribal Employment Rights Office (TERO) and Sound Transit. Supported by a $75,000 contract from Sound Transit, we are launching a specialized cohort under our Palmer Pathways Pre-Apprenticeship program. This initiative is dedicated to empowering Federally Enrolled Tribal members in Pierce County by providing them with specialized training and job opportunities in the construction industry.


Emphasizing Inclusion in Construction


The construction industry offers significant opportunities for community building and economic development. However, Native Americans are currently underrepresented, making up only 2.4% of the workforce in this sector. Our initiative aims to bridge this gap by increasing participation and success rates for Tribal members, with a focus on equipping youth for prosperous futures.


Our Comprehensive Approach


The Palmer Pathways Pre-Apprenticeship program, accredited by the Washington State Training and Apprenticeship Council, is designed to foster economic mobility for underrepresented populations. We offer extensive pre-apprenticeship training, support services, and job placement strategies, focusing on career paths that have traditionally been less accessible to our community.


Prioritizing Youth and Career Exploration


We place a special focus on Puyallup Tribal Members aged 18-26, aiming to introduce them to rewarding careers in trades. Many young individuals we support are trailblazers in their families—the first to graduate from high school or pursue higher education. Our program is about more than training; it’s about pioneering new opportunities, transforming lives, and cultivating first-generation professionals.


Collaborative Partnerships


This initiative represents a dynamic partnership that leverages community strengths and collaborative spirit. In close cooperation with the Puyallup Tribe of Indians and TERO, we are committed to ensuring the success of this cohort. Our collaboration with Sound Transit supports our shared goal to expand the skilled workforce in the construction trades, aligning with our mission to create pathways to success for Tribal members.


Looking Ahead


As Sound Transit prepares for upcoming projects on the Puyallup Indian Tribe Reservation, the importance of this program is more critical than ever. It serves as a proactive step not only to meet employment needs on government-funded projects but also to set a precedent for how inclusive partnerships can effectively address workforce disparities.


We invite all community members, potential participants, and stakeholders to join us on this transformative journey. Together, we will not only build structures but also forge opportunities and brighter futures. Let’s lay the foundation for a more inclusive and prosperous tomorrow.


Warm regards,


Denise Nicole’ Franklin  

Interim Executive Director  

Palmer Scholars


Together, we build more than just pathways; we build possibilities.

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