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Highlights from the 2023 POW Economic Recovery Summit

Abby Twyman
June, 2023
Today is: July 22nd, 2024

The 2023 POW Economic Recovery Summit and Job Fair (plus Artist’s Market) were held the week of April 24-29. This event was coordinated by the POW Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the POW VocTEC.

The event was well attended, and the participants left each session empowered with knowledge and skills. The conversations were rich, and the connections made were deep. We are excited to share with you a full summary of the events throughout the week with links to videos and resources (under development). We know that many more of you wanted to attend but were unable to... no worries! Every session was recorded and available to watch on POW VocTEC Facebook!

Here’s a short recap of everything that happened during the week…

Opening Statements: City of Klawock Mayor Don “Nick” Nickerson, Craig Tribal Association (CTA) President Clinton Cook, and Organized Village of Kasaan (OVK) Lead Carver Eric Hamar shared their perspectives on the economies of their respective communities as well as their visions for a brighter future as we all come together to create positive change in our communities.

Financial Literacy: Jade Jordan and Grant Echohawk of TFCU and Spruceroot provided financial literacy workshops throughout the week to help people build foundational skills for gaining financial independence both as individuals and as aspiring business owners looking to bring their “million dollar dreams” alive.

Writing Workshop: Abigail Calkin, writer, and educator from Gustavus, provided a unique writing workshop to help people “think outside the box” when it comes to writing personal statements and resumes. She demonstrated the power of utilizing timed writing exercises to get our creative writing juices flowing!

Digital Tools: Stacey Skan of Real Tradish jumped in to support when we had a last-minute cancellation. She taught participants about a variety of digital tools that can be used by individuals and business owners to reach a wider audience using audio/video content as well as capitalizing on social media to create buzz.

Featured Creator: We were so honored to have local artist Syndey Isaacs, Associate Director from the PBS Kids series Molly of Denali, join us in Hydaburg to share her story of transforming her art into a career. The students who joined us were so inspired by seeing someone they know doing something so great.

Community Cafes: Over the course of 5 days a series of conversations were facilitated that all built upon the previous ones. The final outcome was a list of viable collective actions we could take to address our shared challenges. A full recap of the discussions and recommendations can be read here.

High School Workshops: Courtney and Kirsten from POWTEC LLC in partnership with Becca and Heather from Klawock School’s CTE Program provided two workshops for local high school students on resume writing, interview skills, and adulting. They learned so much in a short time!

A Birds Eye View: Antonio Harrison, behavioral scientist, and VR wellness coach, spent the entire week traveling with us to all the communities listening to and learning from the people. On Friday, after speaking to the students, he provided a summary of his reflections which got to the heart of our challenges in an inspiring, uplifting, and empowering way. People left hopeful for the future.

Overall, the main takeaway from the event is that our community is ready for an update, not an upgrade. What we mean by that is we acknowledge there are many, many wonderful people who are doing hundreds of things every day to provide adequate care for themselves, their families, and their communities. We also acknowledge there are many people in our community who are suffering in silence and don't know what to do to get the help they desperately want and need. It's going to take all of us (youth, adults, and elders) coming together to create a shared vision for the future of our culture, community, and people. "Progress through Unity" takes all of us!

We agree that may sound very "rainbows and unicorns" but take a moment to listen to the voices of the "young adults" who attended the Friday sessions.

“We want more… opportunities, connections, positivity, communication, support, peace, gatherings, and acceptance. We want less… pollution, homelessness, drugs, alcohol, murders, suicide, racism, unemployment, and negativity.”

We are so grateful for everyone who came together to bring this event to life and to the communities that welcomed us throughout the week. When we began planning this event, we hoped that it would be the catalyst for action and we believe that we accomplished that mission. We’re excited to continue engaging with the community and providing opportunities for growth and development.

If you're interested in getting involved in guiding the future of economic development and improving quality of life on Prince of Wales Island, reach out to Wendy in the POW Chamber of Commerce office at 907-755-2626 or [email protected].

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