The Anchorage Economic Development Corp. has released its 2006 workforce development conference report, which includes action items that were generated during BP and Vision Anchorage’s joint conference that was held in October in Anchorage.
Vision Anchorage is an economic development group.
The conference attempted to not only identify Alaska’s workforce development challenges, but also to move toward specific action steps the Palin administration and the Alaska Legislature could put into effect in the near future.
Projects, aging workforce are challengesIn the report, AEDC President and CEO Bob Poe said proposed North Slope gas pipeline construction, increased oil production and related development, and an aging workforce will prove to be most challenging for the state when it comes to maintaining a qualified workforce.
“We need to ensure that Alaska can keep up with the existing work that air cargo, tourism, construction, oil, fishing and other industries provide,“ he said.
The report said timing is critical; that workforce shortages need to be dealt with immediately.
Poe said he and AEDC were looking forward to working with Gov. Sarah Palin and the Legislature. “It’s one thing to say we want an Alaska gas pipeline on Alaska’s terms,” said Poe. “It’s quite another to provide qualified Alaskans to fill those jobs. And by the way, those Alaskans are currently in about the sixth grade.”
Four action items included in the report were agreed upon and passed by conference attendees:
• Establish a career and technical education outreach program where employers partner with the State of Alaska, University of Alaska, local schools and tribal partners to assist students (P-16), parents of out-of-school youth and employed-unemployed Alaskans to learn about training, internship, apprenticeship, and employment opportunities. Provide tax credit to encourage employees where possible.
• Build on ALEXSYS and appropriately market an internet-based training and employment clearing center to help students and unemployed Alaskans find training and employment opportunities; and to help employers find qualified employees and candidates for training programs.
• Establish, in collaboration with private sector employers, a clearly articulated career and technical education program that: is funded over the long term; utilizes existing education facilities more fully including evenings, weekends, and summers; uses a broad range of educational resources, not limited to the University of Alaska; includes a broad range of options including apprenticeship, internship, and private career and technical education programs; specifically targets rural Alaskans, and out-of-school youth; and uses distance learning capabilities where available.
• The governor and Legislature should restructure the Alaska Workforce Investment Board by establishing a direct reporting relationship to the governor, making it industry driven and establishing full time professional staff to support the board.
AEDC is a private, non-profit corporation in operation since 1987. Its goal is to promote growth and diversity in the Anchorage economy, and it works to improve the business climate and standard of living in Anchorage. To read the full conference report visit www.aedcweb.com.