Apprenticeships Provide Alternate Opportunity

Apprenticeship and Internship Manager Tiara McDougal meets with Apprentice Tayler Higgins.

It’s a well-trod path: You graduate high school. You go to college. Maybe you get an internship. And then you find a job and start your career.

But it doesn’t have to be that way, pointed out Tiara McDougal, apprenticeship and internship manager for Alaska’s People.

“We noticed that there weren’t many opportunities to get people into a professional career other than higher education,” she elaborated. “We wanted to create alternative paths so that people could have access to a high demand career field — to get hands-on experience and mentorship in a professional environment.”

The Duch’deldih Administrative Apprenticeship Program opens the door to professional careers for job-seekers, regardless of their experience. Dena’ina Athabascan for “we are learning,” Duch’deldih matches apprentices with mentors who guide them in their prospective career field. Apprentices participate in a number of trainings and develop a checklist of tasks to complete, tailored to their interests and skills development needs, which will help them build their portfolios and gain hands-on experience.

Apprentices attend a “Waves of Wellness” workshop as part of the Administrative Apprentice Program training curriculum.

“What’s really special about our program is it’s not just duties; we’ve added in cultural activities and created a culture-informed curriculum for the apprentices,” Tiara said. “Duch’deldih isn’t just a job. It’s thinking about our people, how you can better serve them, and how you can be better in your field.”

Duch’deldih graduated its first cohort the first week of October this year. As they enter full-time jobs and internships with both CITC and other organizations, meet Kiara Johnson, Carmella McCall, Tayler Higgins, and Destiny George.

The Administrative Apprenticeship Program is ideal for both college graduates and those with no experience or college degree. Applicants must be Alaska Native/American Indian, be 18 or older, and have a high school diploma or GED.

Interested in the Administrative Apprenticeship Program? New cohorts are formed throughout the year! For more information, contact Alaska’s People at (907) 793-3467 or alaskaspeople@citci.org.