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Workin' with Tradition

Soft Skills for Native American Job Seekers

The 10-session "Workin' with Tradition" program has been designed in concert with Opportunity Link of Havre, MT, with input from area employers and from key individuals from a number of north central Montana tribes.  The program targets job-seekers of Native American heritage who are experiencing challenges entering or succeeding in the workforce.

Strong soft skills have been closely correlated to job satisfaction, retention and promotion.  Yet few soft skills programs accurately reflect the issues, concerns, and traditions of Native American employees, whose unemployment rate is many times the national average. As a result, these curricula have limited relevance to most Native American participants, and do little to help them prepare for successful job experiences on or off the reservation.


"Workin' with Tradition" has been created as a culturally sensitive training curriculum to:

  1.  Acknowledge the difficulties faced by Native Americans when they seek employment on or off the reservation;
  2. Prepare job seekers for cultural differences encountered in many employment settings;                                  
  3. Explore the expectations of managers from within both the white and Native American cultures; and 

  4. Affirm the Native employee’s personal need to keep his or her tribal culture and indigenous identity intact throughout their working lives.

Workin' with Tradition Table of Contents


“Workin’ with Tradition” helps Native American job seekers find success with employers both on and off the reservation.    Through realistic stories with culturally-relevant characters and thought-provoking activities, participants gain self-awareness, emotional self-control, and social skills in interpersonal problem solving.

Section 1: Self- Awareness 
Lesson 1   Challenge of Change                    
Lesson 2   Positive Goal Setting                    
Lesson 3   Understanding Conflict            

Section 2: Transitioning to Work
Lesson 4   Work and Self-Worth                    
Lesson 5   Unspoken Rules of Work    

Section 3: Managing Emotions
Lesson 6  Understanding Stress
Lesson 7  Stop & Think

Section 4: Handling Problem Situations
Lesson 8   Planning & Time Management
Lesson 9   Expressing Concerns
Lesson 10  Logical Decision Making
Closing Lesson
Tradition WB Cover.jpg


2-page summary of the Workin' with Tradition program, including a rational, detailed outline, and contact information.

Full, watermarked sample of the Workin' with Tradition workbook. (May not be used in training.)

Comparison chart highlighting the differences between the various programs.



What Your Colleagues Have Said

“You left a very great impression upon the whole tribal complex.  Very favorable!!!”

Mary D., Owner
Mega Watt, LLC, Bigfork, MT

“I loved the training!  The teaching styles and tools that Steve modeled and taught us will be highly useful in my job promoting and marketing the program in Montana.  I really enjoyed the peer feedback and constructive criticism from fellow trainers in training and the instructor, Dr. Parese.  I learned so much!”

Samantha R., Program Officer, Opportunity Link, Havre, MT

“Sessions helped me to have more empathy towards my clients.  What I believed to be common sense -- some people just don’t have the tools.”

Shelley G., TANF Case Worker
DHRD, Pablo, MT

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