Dupree High School students recently enjoyed a presentation by the CRST Telephone Authority as three of their staff (Mona Thompson, Mike Ganje, and Jared Anderson) came to share about what they do for the tribally owned business as well as sharing about the numerous different positions that are needed in this area. They are going to the local schools to educate the students about career options within the telephone authority so that they may consider them as they plan their futures.
Mona Thompson, CRST Telephone Authority General Manager, shared some of the history of this business with the students.
The CRST telephone business began in 1958 and they are celebrating their 60th year of serving the five phone exchanges in this area.
They spent $37.8 million dollars to put in fiber optics to better serve its customers so that high-speed internet is an option. She shared that at this time purchasing only internet services is not an option and that it must be purchased with a landline phone number.
Thompson also took the time to remind students of the ‘call before you dig’ #811 call that needs to be made if anyone is planning to dig on their land. This call is crucial because if someone digs and accidently cuts their lines it is very expensive and removes services for many until it is repaired. In 2016 a cut was done and the accident cost them $68,000 to repair. Also, due to the costs, there are penalties to those that make the mistakes and do not call.
They shared that there were great career opportunities for both males and females and many of them required only a two-year technical education. Some of the areas included customer service, billing, plant clerks/dispatch, finance controllers, management, etc.
Next, they began passing out information about the scholarships that the CRST Telephone Authority offers and by doing some demonstrations with fibers (splicing and explaining sizes and what they can manage) and electronics. Ganje showed the students some small fibers and one bigger fiber and the inner portions. He was able to show them just how fine and small the inner portions are and that it’s glass. The glass part is about the size of a piece of human hair and can manage eight phone numbers.
In closing, Thompson once again encouraged them to look into these careers and consider them and feel free to contact them with questions, Lastly, she shared some of the goals of the CRST Telephone Authority and they include possibly having their own news channel and that if there were students interested in journalism/broadcasting/video work they should consider those career opportunities too.