In October 2022, BBNC was awarded a five-year grant and over the past few months, in partnership with Bristol Bay Regional Career and Technical Education program (BBRCTE), has been working to develop a career development program called Caliaq – Bristol Bay Youth Internship Program. In Yup’ik, “Caliaq” means “work” or “to gain work experience.” The Caliaq program will provide internship and apprenticeship opportunities to expand career development for Alaska Native students in the four targeted Southwest Alaska school districts: Bristol Bay Borough, Dillingham City, Lake and Peninsula, and Southwest Region.

By the end of the five-year grant, Caliaq will place 160 high school juniors and seniors with internship opportunities to be prepared with college and career readiness skills. To provide this service, BBNC and BBRCTE have been engaged in creating the development of employer and internship manuals and logistics for the internship program. In addition to this, a Youth Advisory Committee and a Regional Workforce Development Consortium was created to review the program’s fidelity, implementation, progress, and review of compiled and analyzed data results. The team consists of regional partners that provide BBNC shareholders with education, training, employment, and cultural programming.

This past school year, 225 students were enrolled in various career and technical education courses in partnership with BBRCTE from 16 communities throughout the Bristol Bay region. Caliaq is looking forward to the number of students that will enroll for the 2023-24 school year!