Coastal Villages Kicks off Another Summer of Youth Employment Programs and Celebrates 20 Years of Interns
ANCHORAGE, AK—Coastal Villages Region Fund (CVRF) is employing hundreds of Western Alaska youth this summer through its longstanding internship and Youth-to-Work programs.
CVRF’s internship program celebrates its 20th year of providing college students from the CVRF region with valuable work experience and competitive wages during the summer months. This summer, CVRF welcomes 19 young Alaskans to its staff for the 10-week program. Thirteen interns will be working in 11 of CVRF’s local community service centers under the supervision of full-time community service representatives, and 6 interns will be working out of CVRF’s offices in Anchorage. Two of this year’s interns are returning for their second summer, putting the skills they developed in their previous internships to use and building upon them.
“I am excited to be back and to pick up where I left off last summer,” said Kayla Kugtsun, a returning intern from Kwigillingok who just finished her sophomore year at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and plans on majoring in accounting. “I like being able to work on real life projects and seeing the things that I could be working on as an accountant. Last year I learned about what each department does, and now I am learning how some of those things are done.”
Like many of CVRF’s interns, Kayla participated in the Youth-to-Work program before applying to be an intern. This summer, Youth-to-Work anticipates employing over 800 youths across CVRF’s 20 communities in 2 sessions, from May 30th to June 29th and from July 9th to August 8th. They will perform a variety of tasks, including working on community service projects, job shadowing workers at other organizations, and learning traditional Yup’ik life skills relevant to modern life from expert instructors, such as mending fish nets, making drums and clothing, and gathering food for elders.
“Youth-to-Work taught me that it is important to get to work on time, complete projects assigned to you, and communicate with your supervisor,” said Kayla. “The things I learned through the Youth-to-Work program have already helped me as an intern and at school and will help me in the future.”
All the interns and Youth-to-Work employees will be earning wages, providing many participants with their first ever paychecks. CVRF’s primary goals with the Youth-to-Work and Internship programs are to demonstrate the benefits of employment to youths and to give them an opportunity to develop and hone foundational workforce skills. These programs are part of a wide range of youth focused programs offered by CVRF that also include Ciuneq, scholarships, and funding for youth leadership projects.
“It is important for us to empower the youth of our communities to prepare them to be part of economic development in the future,” said Timothy Sherman, a Community Benefits Specialist for CVRF. “By supporting them, we create a better future. A community that fails to invest in its youth is bound to fail. We all hold the power to contribute to our region by investing in our youth.”