Helping Our People Excel Update

Published July 2020

The HOPE (Helping Our People Excel) Shareholder Program was started in February, 2019 with a request for action from the Board of Directors. The Board’s main goal was to get more shareholders working and gaining experience to be able to seek work. The Board had several key focuses for the Shareholder Enrichment Department.

Pre-Employment and Training

Village Projects to increase shareholder hire

Ahtna, Incorporated provided about $80,000 in funding to support village labor requests for community projects. The funding was made possible through a partnership with British Petroleum (BP). The purpose of the funding was to assist Ahtna Villages with project needs and in turn increase beneficial work experience for shareholders. We wanted to increase shareholder hire and build up resumes. Seven Tribes received funding, and 50 shareholders were assisted with stipends or pay.

Due to the success of this program, Ahtna, Incorporated has combined additional funding with BP to increase the amount of support we can provide. A letter was sent to the Tribes in the region in December 2019 requesting proposals. Currently seven of the eight villages have been approved at roughly $110,000 in funding for 2020.

  • The Native Village of Kluti-Kaah hired six shareholders to install new metal siding on the addition to the Cultural Learning & Recreation Center (CLRC). The crew finished the CLRC a couple days early and the same group of Tribal members were utilized to build the concrete forms for a new community basketball court.
  • The Gakona Village Council hired four shareholders to conduct a fuel break project. They combined the HOPE funding with other funding sources to complete this project.
  • The Native Village of Tazlina hired six shareholders to retrieve firewood for a biomass project.
  • Mentasta Traditional Council hired three shareholders to clear cut around the site of a future store. They renovated a vacant building to be a grocery store and hired a store clerk to help get the business started. There was a high demand for this project since the nearest store is 50 miles away.
  • Chitina Village Council hired five shareholders to renovate two cemeteries: Village Cemetery and Billum Cemetery. This included painting fences and cutting grass and brush. The village was able to get donations of paint and fuel for the project.
  • Gulkana Village Council held a regalia workshop. 25 participants and an Elder teacher assisted them in making their own personal regalia. This included cutting fabric, sewing and decorating the regalia. The regalia was shown off in a fashion show at the Gulkana Annual Meeting. An additional shareholder was able to attend a water treatment training, so they can serve as a backup for the current water treatment employee.
  • Cheesh-na’ Village Council hired four shareholders who were trained by administration in filing tribal documents; Environmental Protection Act (EPA) functions; hosting of workshops on gardening, waste and recycling; installation of door hangs; Special Elections Assistant duties; purchase of materials needed for culture camp; and assistance in polling the community on upcoming events.

Career Assistance Program

In 2019 we were able to assist six shareholders in their career advancements. We assisted in areas such as necessary trainings to apply for an apprentice program; clothing needed to go back to work; books for an online course; and certifications, cards and licenses needed for work. For 2019 we expended $8,300. So far in 2020 we have assisted 10 shareholders and expended about $13,000. To learn more about the Career Assistance Program and to apply visit www.ahtna.com/shareholders/shareholder-development/career-assistance-program/

Resume and Interview Coaching

We offer a great service to assist shareholders in maximizing their resumes by adding all relevant experience. Shareholder Enrichment is working closely with HR Alera to ensure the shareholders getting resumes through our service are finding careers. If they need additional coaching (such as interviewing, LinkedIn, or cover letters), HR Alera will connect with the shareholders, supplementing what Shareholder Enrichment provides. We have had success with getting resumes done for shareholders in a timely and professional manner this year and many have successfully applied and interviewed for careers.

Mentoring, Internship, Pre-Apprentice, Apprentice and Scholarships

Apprentice Programs

For 2019 we had two pre-apprentice employees and one mentor. This program’s purpose is to assist shareholders with gaining work experience and the hours needed to apply for an apprentice program.

When shareholders join apprentice programs, Ahtna wants to be able to support them in their career goals. We do this by notifying you when an apprentice program is opening and providing assistance with the application process. If you make it into the program and there are associated costs, Ahtna can assist with some of the costs. As soon as you have been released for work, Ahtna Construction can select you to work for them to get the training you need. Currently for 2020 we have seven apprentices in the laborer’s unions. We encourage shareholders to apply to unions, including Operating Engineers, Teamsters and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). Make sure to notify Shareholder Enrichment of your trade so we can contact you when we have a call for work.

Ahtna Special Forces

There were nine Ahtna Special Forces in 2019.

  • Austin Anderson – Political Science Degree – UAA – Graduate May 2020
  • Casey Leonard – Business Degree – UAA – Entering Junior Year
  • Jason Ashenfelter – Accounting Degree – UAA – Freshman
  • Jasznia Marshall – Writing Degree – Fort Lewis College – Senior
  • Jaysen Ewan – Construction Management Degree – UAA – Freshman
  • Kiana Carlson – History Degree – UAA – Junior
  • Taliylah Patrick – Biology Degree – UAA – Junior
  • Talon Masterson – Biology Degree – UAA – Junior
  • Tvetene Carlson – Masters Engineering – UC Berkeley – entering Second Year Master’s program

Scholarship Programs

We awarded $450,000 in Walter Charley Memorial Scholarships in 2019.

In 2020, we added an additional scholarship for vocational programs called the Ahtna Vocational Scholarship. The application period is open year around. To apply visit https://ahtnascholarships.smapply.io/prog/ahtna_vocational_scholarship/.

For more information on the Ahtna HOPE Programs, contact Shareholder Enrichment at shenrichment@ahtna.net or call (907) 868-8221 (Anchorage) or (907) 822-3476 (Glennallen).