Alaska's GCI pioneers in rural workforce development training

June 14, 2023
The Alaskan broadband operator's recent training event for technicians in rural Alaska covered HVAC and DC power systems, copper wire telecommunications network infrastructure, ladder handling, hypothermia prevention, and more.

Alaskan broadband operator GCI reports that nearly 35 GCI technicians and representatives from 26 Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta communities gathered in the town of Bethel on June 7 for safety and technical training. According to a press release, the weeklong session, hosted at the Yupiit Piciryarait Cultural Center and local United Utilities, Inc. facilities, is GCI’s largest-ever training series held in rural Alaska.

GCI said the training opportunity, which is open to Y-K Delta based GCI employees, will further develop their technical skills in an ever-evolving telecom industry.

The training for technicians in rural Alaska covers HVAC and DC power systems, copper wire telecommunications network infrastructure, ladder handling, hypothermia prevention, hearing conservation, antenna structure lighting, and tablet and software training.

“We’re developing subject matter experts and equipping them with the skills to maintain communications infrastructure in the Y-K Delta,” said GCI Technology Solutions workforce management specialist Caroline Renner. “There’s a clear and urgent need for technicians with this skillset, especially in rural Alaska, and this is an incredibly important step to bring this training to the region they call home and not just in urban areas.”

A luncheon on June 9 at the Yupiit Piciryarait Cultural Center recognized the technicians and their critical role in keeping the Y-K Delta connected.

GCI plans to expand the Y-K Delta’s training program model to other rural Alaska regions.

“Working with local GCI leaders, we were able to develop a training program that’s beneficial to both GCI and communities throughout the region,” said senior director of GCI Facilities and Rural Network Operations, JD Schultz. “GCI has more than 200 technicians and site agents who live in nearly every community GCI serves. Through this workforce development program, we’re able to provide more rural Alaska residents with well-paying jobs and meet GCI’s rural workforce needs.”

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