For many unemployed individuals, getting a job isn’t a simple matter of writing a resume or submitting an application.
“To get that job, you need someone to watch your children while you’re working,” explained Mark Hiratsuka, senior program manager with the Alaska’s People Career Development Center at Cook Inlet Tribal Council (CITC). “But to get your childcare set up, you need transportation. Or maybe you don’t have the proper clothes or tools to do that job-we help with that too.”
The Career Center, which is open to all Alaska Native and Native American people, serves about 150 participants every month. While “career” is the emphasis, the Career Center’s intake specialists are trained to look beyond a person’s training or resume development needs. That includes the more basic and immediate needs that might prevent that individual from getting or keeping a job.
To do that, intake specialists connect participants with services in other departments, like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or CITC’s Childcare Assistance program. The Career Center partners with CIRI nonprofits and other organizations and State programs to meet needs CITC isn’t equipped to help with, such as housing.
“We try not to be just reactive to our participants’ needs,” adds Hiratsuka. “The people who come to us aren’t coming because they have everything in place; they’re often desperate for a job, and need to become work-ready. So we take a proactive approach by developing training programs in-house.”
The Career Center offers a variety of trainings on-site, such as job readiness classes, resume building workshops, interview preparation, GED programs and-new this month-Computer Levels I and II. Participants can freely use the Career Center’s computer lab to search for jobs.
Employment specialists also focus on building partnerships with Alaska businesses. “We work extremely hard to make sure we have engaging relationships with the employers in our community because ultimately they’re employing our people,” Hiratsuka said. “We recruit for a lot of their open positions. And we attend job fairs to make sure our networks are continually being revised and enlarged so we can connect our participants to as many opportunities as possible.”
To learn more about the services CITC provides and CITC’s Alaska’s People Career Development Center services, visit www.citci.org or call (907) 793-3600; (877) 985-5900 toll free. The Career Center is located at 3600 San Jeronimo Drive, Suite 300 in Anchorage.
If you live outside of Anchorage and are interested in looking for similar services in your area, visit www.211.org to start your search. The site 211.org is managed by United Way and provides free and confidential information and referral for help with food, housing, employment, health care, counseling and more.
CITC Alaska’s People Career Development Center. Courtesy of CITC.