It’s not just digital. GCI commits to closing cultural divide.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Home to nearly half of the nation’s 547 federally recognized Tribes, Alaska’s Native heritage is as rich as it is diverse. As Alaska’s largest telecom provider, GCI is committed to understanding and honoring the traditions, languages, art forms, and core values that have guided Alaska Native cultures and people for millennia. To support that goal, GCI is launching a year-long, companywide Indigenous awareness training.
“GCI serves some of the most remote communities in the nation,” said GCI Rural Affairs Director Jenifer Nelson. “In these remote communities, culture can be very different. I am a member of the Agdaagux Tribe and I grew up in King Cove, so I know this firsthand. My hometown, like other rural Alaska communities, has been home to Alaska’s Native people for hundreds of years. Our cultures influence the way we work, learn and communicate. I’m happy GCI is offering this training to all employees. It will help educate GCI employees about Alaska’s Native cultures and enable us to better serve our customers.”
GCI has launched the Indigenous cultural training program in partnership with the Alaska Native Heritage Center. The training covers a variety of topics, including: interethnic communications, considerations for visiting and working in rural Alaska communities, and special emphasis on Alaska Native cultures. After launching a pilot project in 2022 with 100 participants, GCI leadership was overwhelmed by the positive response from the attendees.
“This training was very informative and is already proving itself helpful as our technicians travel the state to maintain GCI’s network infrastructure,” said Senior Director of GCI Facilities & Rural Network Operations J.D. Schultz. “It’s easy to overlook the fact that different cultures communicate differently. Even learning about something as simple as the nuances of eye contact, speech pacing and handshake grips will be incredibly helpful as our crews work throughout rural Alaska.”
GCI intends to train 400 employees in 2023 and hopes that all employees will go through the class by the end of 2025.
“This is just one more piece of GCI's overall efforts to create a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace where people from all cultures and all backgrounds feel accepted supported and welcome,” said Nelson. “We look forward to the partnership with the Alaska Native Heritage Center.”
“For a company like GCI to recognize the importance of educating its employees about Alaska Native cultures, communities and people is a big step,” said Alaska Native Heritage Center President and CEO Emily Edenshaw. “We’ve worked closely with our partners at GCI to develop a curriculum and training program that will promote better understanding and communication between the company and the people they serve.”
For more information about GCI’s Workplace Culture programs and initiatives visit https://news.gci.com/topic/workplace-culture.
Headquartered in Alaska, GCI provides data, mobile, video, voice and managed services to consumer, business, government, and carrier customers throughout Alaska, serving more than 200 communities. The company has invested more than $4 billion in its Alaska network and facilities over the past 40 years and recently launched true standards-based 5G NR service in Anchorage, now the nation’s northernmost 5G service area. Learn more about GCI at www.gci.com. GCI is a wholly owned subsidiary of Liberty Broadband Corporation (Nasdaq: LBRDA, LBRDK, LBRDP). Learn more about Liberty Broadband at http://www.libertybroadband.com.