Getting a “Rough Draft” Experience

Through CITC youth programs, young people get support on the path into adulthood

It’s been a cold winter. While on the job with Pegasus Aviation, where he works as a ramp agent, Kalani Pakileata realized he was going to need more than a sweater to stay warm on the tarmac. So, he swung by CITC’s Nat’uh Service Center, where he knew he could find resources to purchase winter-appropriate gear for his job.

CITC’s Youth Employment Program (YEP) offers employment training and life skills training, internships, and supportive services—including assistance with work-related items like clothing and tools.

Through CITC’s Youth Employment Program, Kalani Pakileata completed internships, got support for work supplies, and found employment.

The program also provides mentorship and support to youth ages 14 – 24 during an important transitional period.

“One of our other youth said that YEP is a ‘rough draft experience’—that it’s a way to try things out,” Meg Mielke, CITC 477 Youth Services Manager, described. “It’s great for folks who are in high school, trying out an internship or exploring careers. We still work with them after they’re done and transitioning into adulthood.”

Supported Experience

Before he landed his job with Pegasus, Kalani completed internships through YEP with Seeds of Change and Snow City Café. From there, he moved into a full-time position with the Power Center and, later, worked in logistics at Bean’s Café.

The experience he gained with local employers during his internships and first jobs was supplemented by training from YEP. Youth who are connected with program internships also participate in workshops on resume development and interview skills practice.

“It made getting into the workforce a lot less daunting,” Kalani shared. “I was nervous, but then after doing mock interviews, I wanted to do an actual one—it wasn’t as bad as I thought.

“One thing for sure is that [YEP] made the transition from youth into young adult a lot easier because I had support, and they gave me advice on a lot of things,” he added.

Through the Youth Employment internship, young people ages 14 – 24 can gain work experience with a variety of CITC departments and external partners.

Growing Up with CITC

Like a lot of young people who discover CITC’s programs early on, Kalani has essentially grown up at CITC. After hearing about programs that offered “stuff for Native kids,” he got involved with CITC middle school programs that featured culturally responsive learning and access to the Fab Lab.

“It felt nice to be around other Natives and to focus on Native stuff,” said Kalani, who is Iñupiaq and Tongan. Now 21, he eventually joined the Schoolyard after-school program, where he found a “second family.”

“They helped me through some of my toughest times,” he elaborated. “I knew I could go to [the School Yard staff], no questions asked, and be like, ‘Hey, I need some help,’ and they would help however they can. They really cared about us kids and wanted us to succeed.”

Get Connected

From birth to age 24 and beyond, CITC has programs and services that support young people throughout their lives.

Youth ages 14 – 24 can apply for spring, fall, and summer internships through the Youth Employment Program. Learn about internships and supportive services here.

Our Youth Empowerment programs, housed at the Denełchin Lab, offer programs that engage young people with science, technology, engineering, design, and culture through high-tech tools, while the School Yard afterschool program provides tutoring, mentoring, and access to the lab.

Wondering where to start? Connect with CITC’s Navigation team today!