Jan. 13 will be a big day for Stacy Neketa of New Stuyahok. The Alaska Department of Motor Vehicles is heading to the Bristol Bay-area village to help provide driver's licenses and REAL IDs to people as part of a pilot program and partnership between the DMV and the Bristol Bay Native Corporation.

Neketa says she's never had a driver's license. The 41-year-old has already taken the written exam but needs to pass a driving test to get her license.

Because very few people in the village have cars, a truck is being made available to Neketa and others to take the road test. And local officials say Neketa will be the first person in line.

Those who pass both the written and driving tests will get their driver's licenses on the spot, as well as a Real ID, if computer equipment works with the internet.

"A little nervous but it will be worth it," said Neketa.

"BBNC is very excited for this partnership with the State of Alaska. With only two DMV offices for the 31 communities in the Bristol Bay region, it can be quite challenging for our shareholders to take their driver's test," BBNC President and CEO Jason Metrokin wrote in a news release announcing the program.

BBNC Workforce Development Specialist Martha Anelon says some people off the road system might have to pay $1,000 one way to fly to a DMV location. The two in Bristol Bay are in King Salmon and Dillingham.

Since getting a driver's license can be difficult, Anelon says many people go without it.

"A lot of people don't have their driver's license and in order for you to get a job on the Slope with our subsidiary companies, or even in your own community, not having a driver’s license will stop you from getting a job," she said.

"The partnership with BBNC has enabled the DMV to pursue this opportunity and is a great example of how business and government can come together for the betterment of our people and communities," Jenna Wamsganz with the DMV said in the news release.

Anelon says DMV officials are scheduled to be in New Stuyahok for three days starting Jan. 13 but may stay longer if needed. People in surrounding areas are welcomed to attend as well.

Anelon says they hope to provide mobile DMV service to other rural parts of Alaska in the future.

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