In a Diverse Workforce, Building Confidence Is Key

“One good thing about the CTSP (training) is that it really helps you with adult learning, and with me being bilingual and a lot of the workforce being Hispanic, that’s even more important. You learn some workers are hands on, some are visual, some are book learners. Being able to ID your learner is key to being able to approach, teach and train them,” he says.

Rancho Tree Service crews having a morning stretch.
Rancho Tree Service crews having a morning stretch.
Josue Palacios, CTSP.
Josue Palacios, CTSP.

“When you come into a world of diversity, interacting with others day in and day out, some people are English-speaking only, so there is intimidation that goes on. This is true throughout the industry and the world for Spanish speakers. When you are able to build confidence in these members of the workforce and empower them, that is very valuable. They can respond to questions without feeling intimidated. That benefits them, not only physically (for safety), but psychologically as well,” says Palacios.

Increasing focus on safety

Rancho Tree Service works with the top-three investor-owned utilities in California, including Pacific Gas and Electric, the nation’s largest utility, with 5.5 million customers across California. It also serves Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric. During the past two years, the utility-line-clearance business has boomed, making worker safety a top priority across their organization, Palacios says.

Palacios has three other trainers under him, all of whom are CTSPs: Angus Barnhart-Usedom, Jorge Torres and Fotu Levu. “Their daily responsibilities include tracking field-crew activities, spotting trends, pinpointing areas for enhancement and implementing tailored training, education or rehabilitation plans for employees, guided by our observation program and data-trend analysis,” explains Palacios.

In a diverse work community, where some people speak only English, it can be intimidating for those who speak only Spanish, says Josue Palacios.
In a diverse work community, where some people speak only English, it can be intimidating for those who speak only Spanish, says Josue Palacios. “When you are able to build confidence in these members of the workforce and empower them, that is very valuable.”

Sharing safe practices

Born and raised in Texas, Palacios moved to southern California in 2019 and has more than 10 years’ experience in utility vegetation management, and he sees himself as an emerging leader in the field. One reason he chose this path, he says, was the chance to travel to different parts of the world. As a CTSP and TCIA Qualified Trainer, he was recently invited to Puerto Rico to teach a two-week ground-worker introductory course.

“It helps me reach a bigger audience than in California or Texas,” he says. He also travels for disaster-relief work and currently serves as the alternate for his brother, Erick Navarro Palacios, as the International Arborist Institute representative on the ISA’s ANSI Z133 review committee.

Another takeaway

That is where another takeaway Palacios had from the CTSP training – the value of being able to come to a concise decision when working together in a group – might come into play. “We can’t do it all by ourselves, and working in a group and being able to come up with solutions is necessary,” he says.

“Although sometimes language can be a barrier, I would still encourage anyone to do the CTSP training. The more you can add to your resume and background, the more open you will be to opportunities. Make sure you are not quick to close doors on certain things just because there is a certain barrier.”

With CTSP training, you learn some workers are hands on, some are visual, some are book learners, says Josue Palacios.
With CTSP training, you learn some workers are hands on, some are visual, some are book learners, says Josue Palacios.

For more information on the CTSP credential and upcoming workshops, go to www.tcia.org/ctsp. Or, in the digital version of this issue, click here.

Tamsin Venn is founding publisher of Atlantic Coastal Kayaker magazine and author of the book “Sea Kayaking Along the New England Coast,” and has been a contributing writer to TCI Magazine since 2011. She lives in Ipswich, Massachusetts.

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