CDCR’s Guide to Native American Spiritual Leaders with a Purpose –

Native American Day allows applicants to learn about CDCR

As Native American tribes came together to celebrate their shared heritage and culture, CDCR staff were on hand to answer questions about working for the department.

Michael Hermann is one of many spiritual leaders who come from all faiths to guide those incarcerated in a CDCR facility. Hermann is a Native American spiritual leader working at the Sierra Conservation Center. He started at Deuel Vocational Institution (DVI). Between the two institutions, he has worked at the CDCR for eight years. Before being hired full time, he volunteered for a year at Valley State Prison in Chowchilla.

For anyone considering a career as a Native American chaplain/spiritual leader at CDCR, Hermann advises doing the same.

“Before I started going into the facility, the only thing I knew about prisons was from movies or TV,” he said. “The biggest surprise was to find that most of those serving sentences in prison are just people who have made mistakes in life.”

If people volunteer first, it helps them understand the unique culture and needs to provide spiritual guidance in prison settings, he said.

As a spiritual leader, Hermann said his job is to help people get back on what is called the red route.

“Red Road is the term we use in Native American culture to talk about a better life and healthier choices. Sometimes people get off the red road because of bad life decisions and I help get them back on the right track,” he said. “We meet people where they are now, not where they were in the past.”

At the start of the event, Hermann swabbed two CDCR scouts with sage and cedar smoke, an act called smudging.

“It wards off evil spirits and invites in good spirits,” he said.

Soon a small line formed at the booth with others wanting to be smudged.

Recruiters Discuss CDCR Job Opportunities

At the CDCR recruitment booth, Crysta Peele and Corina Zamora answered questions and provided information on career opportunities. Peele is CDCR’s Recruitment and Career Services Section Chief, while Zamora is a Recruitment and Inclusion Analyst.

“We’ve had a good turnout so far,” Zamora said.

Peele said people are surprised to learn that there are a variety of positions available.

“They’re really excited to see that it’s not all guard posts,” she said.

Many other state agencies had recruiting booths at the event, ranging from the California Conservation Corps to CHP and the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Open house career event is September 28

CDCR is hosting an Open House on Wednesday, September 28 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Corporate Information Services (EIS) Campus, 1940 Birkmont Drive in Rancho Cordova. The event will help job seekers learn more about the department, job openings, and how to navigate the state civil service process.

EIS will also offer same-day testing and interviews for IT associates and specialists.

Make a reservation for the open house.

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