Ciuneq, which refers to a “pathway to the future” in the Yup’ik language, is designed to provide an opportunity for youth from member communities to explore the educational destinations that may be available to them if they continue to work hard in high school.

Exposure to education and career options

In the Ciuneq program, we recruit the top performing high school students from our communities. A competitive application process for each grade level is based on academic performance, a statement of interest, and consideration of their participation performance in prior CVRF programs. Ciuneq is designed to expand at each grade level, starting with exposure to postsecondary education (PSE), supported growth in concentrated areas, and culminating into self-guided growth to begin their PSE journey. Our goal is to prepare Ciuneq participants for college or trade school enrollment by immersing them in hands-on experiences with staff mentors and collaborators that build knowledge about CVRF, the maritime industry, US government, the global financial system, complementary academic opportunities, the PSE admissions process, and the skills and support network to successfully transition from high school to college or trade school.

During the 9th grade Ciuneq, students spend one week visiting universities and trade schools in Anchorage and Seward, Alaska. This experience emphasizes how high school courses and grades can impact acceptance into college and trade schools, their timeline to complete their studies, and how much funding they can receive to pay for their education.

The 10th grade Ciuneq experience expands on career and educational opportunities in the maritime industry and primarily takes place in Seattle, Washington. Students gain understanding about college and trade school preparation in part by taking a practice ACT and interacting with the University of Washington Office of Admissions. A tour of our Seattle-based operations, Coastal Alaska Premier Seafoods, students broaden their horizon of the Bering Sea fisheries as a host for locally rooted career options and become aware of CVRF’s position as a connection point between local and global interactions.


For the 11th grade Ciuneq program, students travel about as far away from their western Alaska communities while remaining in the U.S. to gain an understanding about how the U.S. government and global financial systems operate and CVRF’s place in the global economy as a Community Development Quota (CDQ) program operating in the Kuskokwim Delta and Bering Sea. Students continue to build upon their knowledge of college and trade school admissions by touring several universities and United States service academies.

12th grade Ciuneq participants travel to the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) for a 2-day campus experience, staying in the dorms, eating at the dining hall, and meeting with admissions counselors and academic advisors. Students complete an application for enrollment to at least one college and one trade school and take the Test for Adult Basic Education (TABE) required for some trade schools.

“By participating in the Ciuneq programs I had decided that I want to attend college. I wanted to get ahead in life while I have the chance. I was not sure if I wanted to go to college until I was part of the program."