East Cascades Works Teams with Area Partners to Provide Unique Internship Opportunity for Tribal Youth


After successfully applying for and being awarded funding from the Higher Education Coordinating Commission’s (HECC) Future Ready Warm Springs Program, East Cascades Works (EC Works) teamed up with leaders in the health care industry and local youth serving organizations to implement the Tribal Health Scholars Summer Internship Program — a unique opportunity for young people from the Confederated Tribe of Warm Springs.

“The Tribal Health Scholars Summer Internship Program is just one example of the work that we are doing as part of the Future Ready Warm Springs Project,” said Heather Ficht, executive director of EC Works. “We are incredibly lucky to have the support of the HECC and realize that we could not have an impact in our Central Oregon communities if it were not for our partners.”

EC Works and the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council (COIC) have partnered with On Track OHSU! (Oregon Health and Science University) and St. Charles Health System to offer a comprehensive summer internship program in the fields of general medicine and physical and occupational therapy throughout the St. Charles Health System.

Josh Lagalo, Youth Employment program manager at COIC, was instrumental in ensuring success throughout the summer. He and his team served as the official employer of record and worked directly with the youth and other partners to mitigate and immediately address barriers such as transportation that might have otherwise been a hurdle.

“COIC is immensely proud to be part of the Tribal Health Scholars Program,” said Lagalo. “Working with this team and with these youth was inspirational, as their drive and dedication to their career goals is both admirable and infectious.”

Kaliyah Iverson and Lynden Harry were selected to take part in the Tribal Health Scholars Summer Internship through the On Track OHSU!, a health science outreach program that works with students that starts in sixth grade and follows them through high school and college. On Track first began working with students like Kaliyah and Lynden in 2015 and has since provided firsthand experiences in health and science fields to tribal students.



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