“Ideally, people will be able to grow through this experience and find themselves in a career for life.”

Patricia Leach, Human Resources Director and Citizen of the Catawba Nation

Workforce Development at Catawba Corporations

In home offices, on kitchen tables, and couches across the region a small group of dedicated people have spent the last year helping Catawba Corporations grow. With more contracts, more employees, and additional companies, CaCorp (as it’s known by those on the inside) is poised to continue its growth into the foreseeable future. None of this would be possible without the support of the Nation, and our employees know it. “Catawba Corporations owes a lot to the Catawba Nation, “both in terms of our identity and our values,” says Angel Orenstein, the Marketing Specialist for CaCorp. “It’s up to us to make sure we honor that relationship in any way we can. So, that’s part of why we want to be able to give back to the tribe.”

Catawba Corporations is one of the newest additions to the Catawba Nation’s economic ventures, and one that hopes to bring in quality, high paying jobs to tribal citizens. Patricia Leach, CaCorp’s Human Resources Manager has been working hard with regional organizations to create a new workforce development program to achieve this goal.

However, one of the issues Catawba Corporations needed to tackle was how to ensure that the right people can find the jobs that meet their skillset and training.

By implementing this program Catawba Corporations hopes to bring in people who may not meet traditional requirements for their position and help develop those skillsets alongside mentors within the company. The good news is, we’re already doing just that.

“We realize that not all experiences are created equal, so we have a training plan for every position with on-the-job learning and experience driven talent development.”

Patricia Leach, Human Resources Director

Planning for Your Future

The idea this program isn’t entirely new. Catawba Corporations has been eyeing a workforce development program for some time. Executives Ronnie Beck and Tammy Pressnell have been planning Catawba University for over a year. Both have fostered an environment with open door policies and actively work to mentor current employees as a way to help them achieve their career goals. This is something they hope to bring into Catawba University as well. The 20% mentorship portion of the program will include ongoing one-on-one meetings with trainees, strength coaching, and continuous feedback. This is born out of one of CaCorp’s main values: creating clients and employees for life. “We recognize that not everyone wants to stay in the same job forever, but our goal is to be the kind of place where people feel valued and supported because that’s how you get people who want to stay forever,” explained Orenstein, “and that’s what it means to have employees for life.”

“Our goal is to be the kind of place that where people feel valued and supported…”

Angel Orenstein, Marketing Specialist

Our Goals for the Program

Last October, Catawba Corporations brought on two tribal citizens as part of a pilot training program. Both of these citizens have grown tremendously and are valuable members of the company. “We were fortunate to be able to partner with the tribe’s workforce program to bring on two tribal citizens for on-the-job training. We value our people and are working on new ways to help tribal citizens start a career with us,” says Leach. The long-term goal is to formalize the program into a permanent fixture called Catawba University. The proposed program will be run by a board comprised of employees, executives, and expert workforce development professionals from state agencies. Catawba University will follow a 70-20-10 model where 70% of learning comes from on-the-job training, 20% is gained through mentorship programs, and 10% of an employee’s development comes from continuing education programs and e-learning courses specific to each person’s career path. “Ideally, people will be able to grow through this experience and find themselves in a career for life,” says Leach.