FAIRBANKS (AP) -- A residential Peace Corps-type program is coming to Nenana.
The Tanana Chiefs Conference will run the new program, called Tribal Civilian Community Corps. It was formed by a $1.5 million grant from the Corporation for National Service.
The program's purpose is to help young Native adults get on-the-job experience while working on community projects in Interior Athabascan villages.
After completing the 10-month program, participants will receive $4,750 educational grants to use for college or vocational school.
''It will allow them (participants) to develop a self assurance in their own history, realize who they are and not let the negative get in the way,'' Adam Jagelski, corps campus director, told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.
The Nenana program is a partnership between TCC and Americorps, but is directed at young Native Alaskans and their communities. It is one of four programs in the nation. Three other Native American tribes will have similar programs.
Native Alaskans who are 18-24 years old, are drug and alcohol free and able to pass a background check are eligible for the program. Participants will live in a dormitory in Nenana, Jagelski said. The program is moving into the former Yukon/Koyukuk School District buildings.
The program has 10 staff members hired, six from Nenana.
So far eight people have signed up, Jagelski said. The program has room for 36 people.
Corps members will receive different types of training, such as first aid, carpentry, and suicide prevention, throughout the 10 months. In addition, they will be able to work toward getting a general equivalency diploma, Jagelski said.
The program will send teams to different communities to work on renovations or new construction for nonprofits, said Kelly Monroe, project coordinator.
''We want to do some oral history projects, get some elders on tape,'' she said. The corps may be asked to start community gardens or coordinate teen activities, she said. The members will work on several projects during their tenure, she said.
Participants may sign up for two terms, Jagelski said. Applications for the program will be taken through Jan. 29. For more information call 1 (888) 220-5891.
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