IT whiz. File clerk. Waitress. Retail worker. At just 21, Carmella McCall already has a variety of experiences under her belt.
“My IT internship didn’t offer classes like the apprenticeship does,” she pointed out. Through Duch’deldih, apprentices not only gain on-the-job training in a professional setting, but take trainings that help them develop job skills and connect to their Alaska Native culture.
Carmella, who was born and raised in Kotzebue and grew up hunting, fishing, and mushing in her home town, found value in incorporating her Inupiaq heritage in her apprenticeship.
“The cultural component allowed me to share my background and culture,” she said. “One of the things I had to check off on my curriculum checklist for the program was a land acknowledgement, so I made a presentation about subsistence living in Kotzebue.”
Carmella’s apprenticeship placed her in CITC’s Human Resources (HR) department, where she learned how to write expense reports, order supplies, schedule meetings, and other tasks foundational to an administrative position.
“Carmella is such a fast learner and so eager and interested,” said LaTasha Evans, a senior manager of benefits and compensation at CITC. She served as Carmella’s mentor. “We made it our mission to help make Carmella successful, and she kept us on task, too. She created a contact list that makes it easier for our department to communicate; she got us organized. Every intern needs to know what Carmella demonstrated: When you take on a new role, you have to take an active part in developing your skills.”
Carmella also shadowed employees in the Child & Family Services and Alaska’s People departments. “I learned a lot about CITC, but I also learned a lot about myself,” she said. “I found that I really enjoy helping people who walk into the building, and I like helping new hires get oriented to the organization.”
She added, “My career goal now is to learn as much as I can about human resources and to get familiar with each role in that department.”
She’s already making good on that goal, too: Following the successful completion of her apprenticeship, Carmella was hired on for a permanent position as an assistant with CITC’s HR department.
“I would tell anyone that there’s a lot to learn, and that this program offers so much in many different areas of the workforce,” she concluded. “Through the Administrative Apprenticeship Program, I met a lot of new people and created friendships that will last. I’m glad I get to stay at CITC.”