Tribal workforce program staffer receives award from Dept. of Labor
By Teri Dobson | W.I.A. Director
Thursday, May 20, 2010 – 9 am

During a special awards luncheon held at the 31st National Indian and Native American Training and Employment Conference in Albuquerque, N.M. on April 28, Marlena Escalera, Interim Program Specialist for the Tule River Indian Education Center, received the Outstanding Participant award for 2010.
According to Teri Dobson, WIA Director with the Tule River Workforce Development Dept., there are 192 Indian and Native American grantees throughout the United States and Escalera was one of only three individuals chosen to receive the prestigious award from the U.S. Department of Labor.
“She is the first participant from the Tule River Workforce Development Department’s Workforce Investment Act Program (W.I.A.) to ever receive the award,” Dobson said.
“When Marlena first came into contact with the Tule River Workforce Development Department in 2003, she was an unemployed, single parent with two small children, who supported her family with TANF income,” Dobson said.
“As a WIA participant, she enrolled in an Associate of Arts degree program at Porterville College, and later in a Business Administration program at San Joaquin Valley College, where she maintained a 4.0 GPA.
“Despite the extra challenge of attending to custody issues regarding her eldest son, Marlena prevailed in her efforts and obtained a temporary position as the Assistant to the Program Specialist at the Tule River Indian Education Center, then was promoted to become the Interim Program Specialist for Higher Education students. She has excelled at her job for almost two years now, which includes providing meaningful information and useful guidance to college students.”
Escalera is currently enrolled in an undergraduate program in Organizational Leadership at Brandman University and continues to pursue her vision of self-sufficiency and providing for her children in a good way. She is a proud member of the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians of Nevada.