Internships boost career prospects for shareholders

Sometimes the hardest part of starting a new career is getting your foot in the door. For Kristofer Franke, a CIRI shareholder, the foot-in-the-door moment came with a CIRI Information Technology (IT) internship. And it threw the door wide open to a full-time IT career.

“What I hoped to gain from my internship was work experience, a way to develop contacts in the industry and a game plan for my new career,” says Franke, CIRI computer and network support specialist. “But what I actually received through the CIRI internship was friends, a great atmosphere, many industry contacts, a mother lode of experience and an eventual job with this great company.”

CIRI shareholder and Computer Systems Specialist Kristofer Franke.
CIRI shareholder and Computer Systems Specialist Kristofer Franke.

CIRI is actively growing its internship programs and has an exciting new opportunity for shareholders and descendants interested in the fields of real estate, property development and property management.

The CIRI Real Estate Internship is designed to take participants through the life cycle of a real estate project, from the early stages of conceptualization and project planning, through property acquisition and design, to the final phases of property management and ownership.

Unlike traditional summer internships that introduce participants to one career field through working with a single organization, the CIRI Real Estate Internship will expose interns to the full spectrum of career possibilities with a variety of companies like the CIRI Land Development Company, Pape Dawson Engineers, RIM Architects, Weldin Construction, Weidner Apartment Homes, Inc. and more. The internship is targeted at shareholders or descendants who have just earned a bachelor’s degree, or who are in their final year of a four-year program.

“This is an exciting opportunity for CIRI shareholders or descendants who want to build a bridge from the knowledge they’ve gained in school to the start of a successful career in real estate or property development,” says Dave Pfeifer, CIRI Vice President, Real Estate.

“Internships like this one really make the difference when employers select from the many candidates who apply for a job,” adds CIRI Senior Director, Human Resources, Debra Ahern. “For CIRI shareholders and descendants, in particular, a CIRI internship can be an opportunity not only to demonstrate your talents to potential employers but to make connections that can turn into an exciting career with a CIRI-affiliated business or partner.”

In the past, CIRI has partnered with First Alaskans Institute to make its internship program a success. In August 2013, CIRI began partnering with Cook Inlet Tribal Council (CITC) and the Alaska Vocational Technical Center (AVTEC) to develop an internship program designed to open career pathways for CIRI shareholders and descendants interested in entering the IT field. “The internship helps by providing a team environment where shareholders can really learn how an IT team works in a business setting. This internship has been very successful. Three of our interns have been CIRI shareholders or descendants, and all three have earned jobs with CIRI or one of its subsidiaries,” says CIRI Senior IT Director Keith Ziolkowski.

Through this partnership, Bob Crowe became the first CIRI shareholder to participate. Working with CIRI’s IT department prepared Crowe for the 10-month Information Technology Program at AVTEC in Seward. After interning for one summer, Crowe completed the AVTEC program with scholarship assistance from CITC and The CIRI Foundation. This summer, he’s completing his externship with Doyon, after which he’ll be back at Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge, supporting IT operations. Crowe says, “Working with the CIRI team was the best way for me to make a career change.”

CIRI shareholder Bob Crowe in 2013.
CIRI shareholder Bob Crowe in 2013.

CIRI’s IT department currently has one internship available for a shareholder or descendant whose goal is to qualify for the AVTEC program in September, and an additional internship for a shareholder or descendant who already has IT training and is ready to gain practical business experience on an IT team. Interested applicants can contact Keith Ziolkowski at (907) 274-8638 or Eric Watson with CITC at (907) 793-3320 for more information.

Whether you’re interested in real estate or information technology, CIRI’s rapidly growing internship programs are a great way for new graduates and seasoned workers alike to jumpstart a new career.