Photo of Jennifer Shryock and her mother Mary. Jennifer and her fellow students in rural Alaska are learning about the variety of careers available in their small town.
Photo of Jennifer Shryock and her mother Mary. Jennifer and her fellow students in rural Alaska are learning about the variety of careers available in their small town.
Volunteering & Giving
August 21, 2014

Small town, broad horizons for students in rural Alaska

Students in the Alaska community of King Salmon, with a population fewer than 900, learn that the variety of careers available to them probably is larger than they think.

Clearly, there are challenges when you live in a town that is accessible only by airplane, boat, or snowmobile.

Jennifer Shryock says one challenge that may not immediately come to mind — but one that is very real to her and fellow students in rural Alaska — is deciding on a career.

Jennifer says she’s always known that a career in banking is one option since her mother Mary is a teller in their community of King Salmon. But she also says that living in a town with fewer than 900 people makes her feel as if the careers available to her are not too varied.

“Growing up here, you know about construction jobs or jobs in the fishing industry,” says Jennifer, “but you don’t hear a lot about other options.”

That’s one reason Wells Fargo invested $25,000 in a career and technical education program facilitated through the Lake and Peninsula School District. The program supports workforce development in rural communities like King Salmon. It also introduces students like Jennifer to careers that may not have been on their radar.

“This program opened my eyes to things like welding or even being an emergency trauma technician,” says Jennifer. In fact, after participating in training as a part of the curriculum that highlighted a career as an emergency trauma technician, Jennifer was able to land a summer job as a lifeguard.

While she’s still trying to decide what career might be best for her, Jennifer says she feels like she has a better idea of where the future could take her. “I feel like it was just what I needed to broaden my horizons . . . and that’s a great thing.”

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