Klukwan high school students are learning the basics of pre-employment skills and career exploration, hoping to snag a job this summer at local businesses.

Margaret Sebens, interim program director for Southeast Alaska Independent Living, said SAIL and the state Division of Vocational Rehabilitation have teamed up to host a seven-week class and summer work program for the students. The Division is funding both, paying wages for up to 160 hours of summer work.

Sebens said the class, taught by Justina Hotch, includes assessing interests and career goals, learning interviewing skills, filling out applications, writing cover letters, and earning first aid and CPR certifications, as well as visiting local employers to find out what they’re looking for in an employee.

The group met with Mayor Jan Hill Monday, where they discussed job opportunities at the Haines Borough, the borough’s hiring process and what to look for in an employee. Hill said as Mayor and small business owner of House of Beads on Main Street, she was able to field questions from the students and give advice about work ethic.“I’m encouraged that these skids were so engaged and curious, and wanting to learn about the opportunities available to them,” Hill said.

The class will transition into the summer work program, where Sebens said businesses will agree to mentor the students and provide them with work, with the agency covering pay until the 160 hours is up.

“For most of the kids, this might be their first job,” Sebens said. “The hope is that the employer will like the students and invite them to stay on beyond 160 hours.”

The summer work program is open to any students in Haines or Klukwan ages 14-21 who meet criteria for a disability, Sebens said.Employers interested in hosting a student this summer can contact Sebens at 907-766-3297.