Village Technology Specialists


8-29-06 From the Delta Discovery

by Robert Nick

UUI-VTS August Institute


For the past two weeks, ten young men and women from Upper and Lower Kalskag, Tuntutuliak, Kongiganak and Kipnuk participated in a Village Technology Specialist Program at the Kuskokwim Campus (KuC) of the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Due to increasing demand of the use of telecommunication services even in the remote small communities throughout the world, YK delta included, and at the request of the telecommunications industry, the Kuskokwim Campus has started this much needed program.


The main goal of the program is to support the growth and development and use of the data communications services in the Y/K region of our great state. And this much needed Village Technology Specialist program is to be initiated in conjunction with data and internet-based infrastructure development in the region and would serve as the primary "infrastructure" component of the project.

As a leader of the telecommunications industry, United Unicom Incorporated, known to many of us clients in the villages as United Companies, Inc., a wholly native-owned company, is the "Vanguard" of utilizing our people in the region and their telecommunications equipment, which with forthright foresight of its long time innovative leader Steve Hamlen, has taken this positive step.


And why not?

UUI has long championed the cause of progress throughout the state, what with millions of dollars it has invested in our future leaders by providing scholarships throughout the years. And the many, many young men from the delta, which they employ, shows they believe in our people's ability to learn and become a workforce of the delta. In fact I have a son-in-law, brother-in-law, nephew and many, many relatives across western Alaska whom UUI employs in all phases of its operations. And UUI trained them all.


I recently traveled to a number of villages and noticed telecommunications towers in every one I visited. One that impressed me is in Eek, Alaska. And the reason I was so is that last December 2006, I was at the foot of the Kilbuck Mountains east of Eek on a caribou hunt with my youngest son, when we were guided back to the flats by the gigantic tower.

UUI has these towers in Aniak, Tuluksak, Akiak, Bethel, Chefornak, Eek, Kipnuk, Kongiganak and Quinhagak. Each tower is part of a network of networks that routes traffic to and from the Yukon/Kuskokwim delta villages and the rest of the world. This network is referred to as the Yukon Kuskokwim Deltanet, or just Deltanet for short. So much for UUI - let us learn a little more about the Village Technology Specialist Program (VTS).


The UUI-VTS August Institute (14-25) will equip these young men and women with a broad range of computing knowledge and skills that would provide them with the skills/ability to install and provide the technical support for small village access points which would serve as computer labs; (2) they would be able to understand and provide the technical assistance with basic computer applications and data communications skills functions; (3) they would provide customer services to village based clients through the public access points (computer labs); (4) they would coordinate, support and maintain the functions and services provided through the village public access points(computer labs).

The intensive classes which UUI participants (students) are taking utilize content area specific, industry recognized curricula needed to develop the students' information technology expertise. The training includes intermediate level computer application such as MS Word, Excel, Operating Systems and Internet and Communications Software, including Network Hardware/LAN installation and support training; and the developed IT Workplace Basics course-ware to accommodate the specific workforce goals necessary to support the project's needs and the specific educational needs of the participants (students).

Pat Cleveland, Eek, comments on the DeltaNet PAP

Once the participants (students) successfully complete the UUI Cohort training, each would receive IC3 Certification, which is the course objective and goal. Each of the five courses are college credit courses and would also prepare the participants for more advanced technical training should they choose to continue in a computer career. The college credits and the professional certification testing and test preparation gives the UUI participants (students) options to continue in this fast growing field. Afterall, we are in an information era, and I wholehearted applaud United Companies for again taking the lead in an invaluable investment of a future workforce for the Y/K delta.


These ten young men and women completed their training last Friday, the 25th. And I congratulate you, Anna Morgan, Dionne Dorris, Alexie Littlefish, Rachel Wise, Carlotta Evan, Max Joseph Jr., Reuban Paul, Frank Mute Jr., Byron Paul, and Ryan Samson. Your service to your people in your respective villages will be greatly beneficial and appreciated by UUI clients across the delta and there are many of us.
Again "KUDOS" to United Unicom, Inc., also known as United Companies Inc.


VTS Program Kuskokwim Campus
PAP Yahoo Group
VTS Photoset