“You’re in the Right Place”

CITC apprenticeship program creates career path

Bella Harrison successfully completed CITC’s Administrative Apprenticeship program, which eventually led to full-time employment at CITC.

When Bella Harrison knew she was having a baby, she got motivated.

“I was single and not employed at the time. I wasn’t in school. I’d just gotten out of a relationship. But the moment I knew I had a baby coming, I knew I needed to get a job to take care of him,” she shared.

Often, when a person jumps into a job hunt, they go online, fill out applications, send out resumes. If they’re lucky, they know someone who knows someone, and maybe that connection will lead to a personal introduction to a potential employer.

Bella knew someone: her grandfather, Carl Marrs. Once the CEO of CIRI, Carl was very familiar with CITC and its Workforce Development programs. He suggested that Bella check out Alaska’s People at CITC, which offers employment support and workforce training to job-seekers.

At a crossroads in her life, Bella was motivated by her newborn baby to seek out work experience that would lead to a full-time position.

“He was the one who got me back on my feet,” Bella said.

“When I first came in,” she continued, “I hadn’t had a job like this before, and I was a little nervous. [Alaska’s People Senior Manager] BreeAnn Davis was open-hearted and warm. She made me feel welcome and like I could get a job. The next thing I knew, I was working in Recovery Services.”

BreeAnn connected Bella to the Administrative Apprenticeship program, which opens the door to professional careers for job-seekers, regardless of their experience. The program 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.

Bella was paired with Workforce Development Coordinator Nancy Lockwood, who mentored her as she learned her role.

“Learning from Nancy really helped because I had no experience at all,” Bella recalled. “Every month, we would talk about what I’d learned. Nancy was a great role model.”

Bella has now completed her apprenticeship; after a brief internship, she now works full-time as an administrative assistant with CITC Recovery Services.

“I love my position. I have a past of family and friends in recovery, so to be in this department and get to help people who are getting back on their feet—I love it,” she shared. “I plan to be here as long as I can, not only for me, but for my son.

“When I didn’t know who to go to, Alaska’s People was a great place to start,” she added. “They help you with whatever you need and give you skills and experience to become employable anywhere. When I came to CITC, I told myself, You’re in the right place.”

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 exploring CITC apprenticeships? Start by applying through myCITC—or visit our Navigation team on site at the Nat’uh Service Center to get help registering with myCITC!