As CIRI embarks on a new year, I’m excited about the prospects of building on the foundation of cooperation and collaboration that helped define 2013 for CIRI and its shareholders. The relationship between CIRI and our villages, tribes and nonprofit organizations is stronger today than it has ever been. When people and organizations work together, we all win. I’m confident that 2014 will bring new opportunities for our shareholders and descendants as we strengthen existing relationships and cultivate new ways to work with other Native corporations, Alaskan businesses and communities.
A great example of the collaboration between CIRI and its partners is the CIRI Shareholder Job and Resource Fair. When CIRI held its job fair in 2013, the goal was to have companies together in one location where shareholders and descendants could learn, ask questions and apply for jobs. The job fair was a big success and we heard that CIRI shareholders wanted to see a greater variety of vendors, from a broader range of industries.
For the 2nd Annual CIRI Shareholder Job and Resource Fair held on Jan. 28, we worked hard to include vendors and industries that were underrepresented previously. Among the new vendors were Doyon Universal Services, a subsidiary of Doyon Ltd., and Bristol Bay Native Corporation (BBNC), two Alaska Native corporations that will bring exciting job opportunities to the event.
New in 2014, CIRI partnered with CIRI-affiliated nonprofit Cook Inlet Tribal Council (CITC) to coordinate a Resume and Development Workshop designed to help interested shareholders and descendants polish their resumes and sharpen the interviewing skills, just in time for the 2014 job fair.
Construction plans for CIRI’s new Fireweed Business Center, the eight-story building that will become CIRI’s new corporate headquarters, are well under way. I’m thrilled that Davis Constructors and Engineers, the general construction contractor on the new building, not only participates in the job fair, but has also reached out directly to CIRI shareholders to promote jobs related to the construction of the new building. CIRI’s relationship with Davis has already produced great learning opportunities and job development for our shareholders.
When you are just starting out in a career, it can be hard to learn the ropes-which is why I believe interning is a great way to develop job experience. That’s one of the reasons CIRI launched an Information Technology (IT) internship program in 2012, with the help of CITC and The CIRI Foundation. Through this internship, CITC reviews potential shareholders and descendants to make sure they have the business and social skills needed to work in a business environment and prior IT training or experience. If a candidate already has IT training and just needs work experience, that individual can begin an internship at CIRI at any time.
If a candidate needs IT training, CIRI works with CITC and The CIRI Foundation to secure funding to attend the Alaska Vocational Technical Center in Seward, Alaska, or a similar program offered by another college or university.
Once the training is completed, the participant moves into the internship position in CIRI’s IT department and when that is completed, and the candidate has demonstrated the necessary skills, CIRI works to place the individual in a fulltime position at CIRI or one of its subsidiary companies. Our third IT intern is now participating in the program.
CIRI Land Development Company (CLDC), again with support from CITC, is putting the finishing touches on an internship program for CIRI shareholders and descendants who are interested in a career in real estate. The CLDC intern will experience a multitude of careers and organization types during the 12-week program through one-on-one interaction with industry professionals working on active CLDC projects or projects of CLDC Program Partners.
Education is another area that has opened doors to CIRI partnering with organizations, businesses and schools. We joined forces with Afognak Native Corporation, BBNC, Chugach Alaska Corporation and The Aleut Corporation to establish the Alaska Native Executive Leadership Program (ANELP), a graduate program offered through Alaska Pacific University. ANELP is a unique nine-month program, currently in its fifth month, which trains future Alaska Native leaders. ANELP has four CIRI shareholders, one of which is a CIRI employee, and two other CIRI employees currently enrolled.
CIRI business partner Weidner Apartment Homes is also creating avenues to better education and jobs. Starting this past fall, Weidner helped fund a new four-year Bachelor of Business Administration degree program at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. With a focus on property management and real estate, the program is designed to create a strong pool of new talent ready to start their careers.
None of these programs and events would be possible without the collaboration CIRI has with its business partners, nonprofits, villages, tribes, other Native corporations and community organizations.
Teamwork and togetherness: That’s how we solve problems and create opportunities for shareholders. I’m proud of the progress we have made and I look forward to finding even more ways CIRI can cultivate new partnerships throughout the coming year.
- Programs & events made possible through collaboration with CIRI business partners, nonprofits, villages, tribes, other Native corporations and community organizations.
- CIRI partnered with CIRI-affiliated nonprofit Cook Inlet Tribal Council (CITC) to coordinate a Resume and Development Workshop.
- With the help of CITC and The CIRI Foundation, CIRI’s IT internship program now has its 3rd IT intern participating.
- APU’s Alaska Native Executive Leadership Program has four CIRI shareholders, one of which is a CIRI employee, and two other CIRI employees currently enrolled.