Coastal Villages launches Summer Youth Work Programs

Coastal Villages Region Fund (CVRF) will be putting Western Alaska youth to work this summer through its Youth-to-Work and internship programs.

CVRF’s internship program has been employing college students since CVRF was formed in 1998. In 2016, 19 young Alaskans from the CVRF region were hired through the internship program to work in Anchorage and in member communities.

This year, 13 interns have been placed in local communities where they will work out of CVRF’s community service centers (CSCs) under the supervision of full-time community service representatives (CSRs).

Five interns will also work out of CVRF’s offices in Anchorage, and one will work for CVRF in Seattle. CVRF’s internship program prepares Western Alaska youth for management careers, as well as work experience in various fields of interest.

“I started at CVRF as an intern. Since that time, I’ve seen the program evolve into an even more meaningful experience for participants. Many internship applicants have already participated in our other youth programs – this trend highlights the continued and expanding opportunities that CVRF provides to young people who wish to work and gain experience that translates to future jobs,” said Gwen Andrew, CVRF’s Youth Program Coordinator.

CVRF has been employing kids ages 14-19 through its Youth-to-Work program since 2007. This program is a formative first-work experience that teaches youth basic work-life skills as well as traditional skills. CVRF partners with local organizations for job-shadowing and with local subject-matter experts to teach cultural skills such as qaspeq and dance fan making and harpoon and sled building.

2016 was a record year with 698 youth employed, and CVRF expects that 2017 will beat that record.

“I stepped outside the other morning and witnessed our Youth to Work program starting,” said Stephen Maxie Jr. of Napaskiak. “Some youth were walking to our CSC building, some running, some biking, and some riding their ATV. All looked excited to begin their journey: their journey to whatever they dream to do and become in the future. These kids are our future, and CVRF is doing the right thing investing in our youth who are eager and hungry for whatever we offer to them to help them succeed. CVRF is giving them HOPE! We all should want the best out of them, they are our people! They matter! Our people deserve more! They need to be treated fairly!”

The 2017 summer Youth-to-Work and internship programs officially launched in May and will conclude in August. Participants will learn the basic foundations of a fundamental work ethic such as being on-time, providing good customer service, developing positive and professional relationships, and accepting the roles and responsibilities of a typical employee.

CVRF is a 501(c)(4) Alaska non-profit corporation whose 20 member villages are along the west coast of Alaska from Scammon Bay to Platinum.