Tourists on the Alaska Railroad this summer will be greeted by some fresh young faces. Eleven students from King Tech High School have been selected for the Alaska Railroad's summer tour guide program.

Christopher Knox is one of them. Knox just graduated from King Tech's introduction to engineering and design program this spring. He's gearing up for college this fall and hoping to add some new skills to his toolbox — people skills. 

"Public speaking is something that's important for any profession, I guess, even engineers who are typically like introverted people and just do their own thing," Knox said. "Being able to present your ideas, formulate them and actually like convince people that what you're doing is something that's improving the world."

Knox says it was a teacher at King Tech, Mike Woods, who suggested the summer railroad gig might be good training in that regard. 

"It wasn't something I was thinking about at all," Knox said. 

Woods, who also works for the railroad as a recruiter, runs a nearly three month, after school, training program to help high schoolers prepare for the position. 

"The railroad wants our visitors to meet real Alaskans, locally, who can tell them what the life of an Alaskan is about," Woods explained, adding students are taught public speaking through providing commentary on the train and utilizing them as state ambassadors.

Woods says the last training program included 16 students — 11 were hired as railroad guests, the other five were hired by industry partners. He says he's now starting the recruitment process for next year. Anyone interested in the program can email Woods.

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