Giving Thanks for New Beginnings

Leadership, staff and participants fromWells Fargo, CITC and ChanlyutChanlyut celebrate Wells Fargo' ongoing commitment to the program through its Workforce Development Scholarship program.

Leadership, staff and participants from Wells Fargo, CITC and Chanlyut celebrate Wells Fargo’s ongoing commitment to the program through its Workforce Development Scholarship program during a Gratitude Luncheon Nov. 25. Photo by Wayde Carroll

Chanlyut scholarship recipients celebrate Wells Fargo’s $50,000 investment in workforce development program

Israel Soto has a lot to be thankful for this year.

A former Army veteran, kitchen manager and cook on the North Slope, Israel is rebuilding his life through the support of Cook Inlet Tribal Council’s Chanlyut residential workforce and re-education program.

At 52, and in full recovery, he has learned the importance of a steady job in grounding one’s life. Through persistence, sobriety and hard work, Israel has crafted the recipe for his own success. “I could never do that before. It’s just the fact of being sober and going to work every day—that’s what keeps me focused,” he said.

Chanlyut (pronounced “shawn-loot,” Dena’ina Athabascan for “new beginnings”) is a two-year residential work-training and re-education program providing a structured, yet self-governed path for participants to overcome the challenges of addiction, homelessness and/or reentering society after incarceration.

Chanlyut’s mission is possible with support of community partners like Wells Fargo, who established the Wells Fargo-Chanlyut Workforce Development Scholarship through its Economic Opportunity grant program.

A Gratitude Luncheon November 25 at the Chanlyut residence celebrated the partnership and acknowledged the success of Israel and others who have transformed their lives through workforce development scholarships.

After successfully completing the Chanlyut program, participant Israel Soto’s plans include returning to the food service industry through hotel and restaurant management. Israel is rebuilding his life with the values Chanlyut instills in its participants.

After successfully completing the Chanlyut program, participant Israel Soto’s plans include returning to the food service industry through hotel and restaurant management. Israel is rebuilding his life with the values Chanlyut instills in its participants.

Wells Fargo is a long-time supporter of Chanlyut’s mission and recently donated $50,000 to the program—$40,000 for Chanlyut general operations and $10,000 for the scholarship fund.

Scholarships range from $1,000–$2,000 for participants entering the “Work Out” phase of the program, and are applied to their academic and/or career goals. As the most recent scholarship recipient, Israel plans to enroll in culinary school upon graduation of Chanlyut and earn his certificate in hotel and restaurant management.

“Wells Fargo supports Chanlyut because we know it is helping to change lives and reduce recidivism rates in Alaska,” said Joe Everhart, Wells Fargo Alaska regional president. “Our goal with the Economic Opportunity grant program is to help create jobs and keep our Alaska communities thriving for generations to come.”

Wells Fargo’s $1.9 million grant program supports individual job seekers, the self-employed and small business owners in communities along the West Coast, including $120,000 invested directly in Alaska nonprofits.

The program is expected to create 6,500 jobs and provide small business development and technical assistance for 8,000 entrepreneurs.