Faces of Change: Marie Kills Warrior

"I feel safe. I feel important."

Marie Kills Warrior has big dreams for her future. "I have a lot of different passions," she says. "I'll eventually choose one to focus on, but right now I'm just focusing on the skills I'm learning in this program."

A participant in our Workforce Development Through Sustainable Construction Program, Marie is part of the program's second cohort of young women and men. She entered with an Associates Degree in Auto Mechanics, often helping staff with small car troubles questions, and even got the boss's notoriously difficult suburban to run again. But the many of the skills she started learning in the program were new to her. 

"At first I was nervous, because I had never done construction or carpentry before," she said. "Now I'm feeling confident."

Marie and the rest of the Workforce crew is now using those skills to help build the first single family homes in our Regenerative Community. Whether helping to pour foundations, assembling SIPS panels or tying rebar, theres a great deal to be done and Marie has been a dedicated worker every step of the way. The news skills she is learning are giving her more ideas about how she might build her own future as well. 

"I've been thinking about opening my own mechanic shop on the reservation, so the IDA account I have might be one way to put money toward getting the resources I need to start my own business. I also really like carpentry and might do that, but I haven't decided yet."

In addition to hands-on construction skills, throughout the program she has participated in everything from trauma sensitive yoga training to equine therapy as part of the program. She's also participated in community engagement sessions regarding the design of buildings in the Regenerative Community, taken Financial Literacy classes and opened an IDA account with our partners at OST Partnership for Housing, and completed a Native workforce readiness training called Workin' with Traditions. Each new experience was geared toward helping participants develop all aspects of their future by giving them the tools to handle career decisions and pressures, personal challenges and the various stresses of life in general. 

"This job is different than I thought it would be. It's more than just a job, I guess. I feel safe. I feel important. I've never had that feeling at a job before, and whatever I decide to do, this program has taught me a lot."