Alaska May Economic Trends

In May Trends: May’s issue features more on COVID-19 and Alaska’s economy, including a look at seasonal jobs and the initial jump in unemployment claims. This issue also summarizes our recent population projections for 2019-2045.

Source: Department of Labor and Workforce Development – Research and Analysis

On the frontlines

UAA alumna Greer Gehler, graduated from UAA’s School of Nursing in December 2018 with a bachelor’s of science in nursing science and is currently working in Providence Alaska Medical Center’s emergency room. (Photo courtesy, Greer Gehler)

When nursing alumna Greer Gehler graduated from UAA in December 2018, she could have never predicted the whirlwind that would be her first two years of nursing. Gehler received her first bachelor’s in history of art and architecture from Brown University and spent nearly a decade working in Alaska’s political scene. Through her various roles, she saw firsthand how important health care is, especially in a state like Alaska where the vast landscape makes providing health care challenging. She decided rather than work in a job where she helped make health care policy, she wanted to be in the middle of it — actually working with and interacting with patients.

Initially, she started down the pre-med route but ended up focusing on nursing, returning to school to pursue her second bachelor’s in nursing through UAA’s School of Nursing.

“UAA was very affordable, convenient and there wasn’t a wait list anymore when I applied, so I was able to apply right away,” Gehler said. “One of the big selling points was as a nursing student when you do your clinicals, you do them in the hospitals in Anchorage. So you get that exposure to people you may work with one day and you get to meet some of the managers — it’s sort of like a pre-job interview — you build those professional relationships, which makes it much easier when you go to apply for a job.”

Gehler knew she wanted to stay in Alaska and ideally work at Providence Alaska Medical Center (PAMC), so getting her foot in the door with her potential future employer during her nursing clinicals was crucial in securing a job post-graduation. She said occasionally, PAMC offers a new nursing residency, a program where the organization hires new nursing graduates, placing them with various departments within the hospital for training — and one of those happened to be the emergency room (ER). For Gehler, graduation, taking her National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), the nationwide nursing licensing exam and the new nursing residency program serendipitously lined up, helping her land a position in PAMC’s ER. She had previous experience in the ER during one of her clinical rotations in school and fell in love with the fast-paced, day-to-day life there and was thrilled she essentially landed her dream job straight out of nursing school.

Read the full article here.

Source: On the frontlines – UAA Green and Gold

Alaska Sea Grant: COVID-19 Resources for Fishing Businesses

Alaska Sea Grant has online resources to help Alaskan seafood and fishing businesses respond to COVID-19-related issues. Included are webinars, a publication for managing business risk, and information on state and federal assistance programs.

Source: Alaska Sea Grant: COVID-19 Resources

UAS student graduates with degree in Fisheries and Ocean Sciences

Kayla Drumm

Juneau, Alaska (KINY) – Kayla Drumm has the distinction of being the first graduate of the joint UAS/UAF Bachelor of Science in Fisheries and Ocean Sciences degree program.

Established in 2017, the Juneau-based program takes full advantage of faculty and resources at UAF, intimate class sizes at UAS, and the natural laboratory of Southeast Alaska.  Students in the program have numerous opportunities to engage in real-world science with top faculty, and easy access to the ocean, freshwater lakes and streams, the intertidal habitat, and wetlands.

“Growing up in Alaska, I have always been interested in marine life, especially fish,” notes Drumm. “I’ve always planned on staying in Alaska and have known I wanted to work in the fisheries field. I had originally enrolled in the Marine Biology Program. I started looking into the fisheries program and decided to switch to Fisheries in the Spring of 2018. It felt like a much better fit. Later that summer I found out I was pregnant with my daughter and the mix of in-person and online classes really helped me finish my degree and succeed. I would like to thank my family, friends, and professors for all the support and encouragement. I am very excited to have my degree in a field that I love and looking forward to where it will take me.”

Dr. Mike Navarro, the UAS coordinator implementing the program, remarked that it is gratifying working with colleagues at both UAS and UAF, seeing the joint degree grow from an idea into reality. Currently, there are 12 students in the program with new students expected to sign up for the fall semester.

“Many of these students share similar backgrounds as Kayla,” said Navarro. “They are working hard to earn this degree for themselves, and like Kayla, each brings with them a valuable perspective to fisheries science.”

Navarro congratulates Drumm, who he considers a trailblazer for this degree.

Read the full article here.

Source: UAS student graduates with degree in Fisheries and Ocean Sciences -KINY 800/94.9

Alaska’s SHARP Program Announcement


Alaska’s SHARP Program is our statewide support-for-service effort to provide financial support to a practitioner other than his or her standard wage and benefit.  It is a public-private partnership working to improve the recruitment, retention and distribution of health professionals for Alaska.

SHARP-1 began in 2010 and is our fundamental option.  SHARP-1 service contracts provide education loan repayment, largely for outpatient generalist practitioners providing care in federally designated Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs).  SHARP-1 is based on the state’s receipt of competitive HRSA partnership grants from the federal State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP), of which we have now won four.  All SHARP-1 contracts are at least 50 percent HRSA-funded, with the other 50 percent derived from varied non-federal sources, including employers and the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority.

For key details, go here.


SHARP-1 contracts provide education loan repayments, and are largely focused on outpatient generalist practitioners who provide care to underserved populations.  Behavioral health, dental and primary care medical practitioners are all welcome to apply.  Applications are welcome from both practitioners and employers, and each entity can apply separately even if they do not yet have an “employment partner.”  We estimate that about 100 new SHARP service contracts will be competitively issued to eligible clinicians.

As well, those clinicians who have previously received a SHARP service contract are welcome to reapply.  The key issue is current service obligations must be avoided.  That is, this potential SHARP-1 contract period must not overlap with either another SHARP contract, nor any other service obligation, like the National Health Service Corp or the Indian Health Service Loan Repayment Program.


The SHARP-1 opportunity is only practitioners providing care in federally designated Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs).  There are mental health, dental and primary care HPSAs, and SHARP is interested in enhancing practitioner capacity in all three.  Anyone can use the handy web-based federal search engine to review the many available HPSA locations.  To do so, check the following federal web-link:

In addition, know that Alaska has just received several new HPSA designations for the Anchorage and the Mat-Su Boroughs.  For information about these key new HPSA designations in mental health, dental and primary care medical, see the public notices here.


Opening:  The window for applications will be open from May 1st thru July 10th.

Decisions:  Alaska’s SHARP Council will decide award priorities during publicly noticed meeting(s) in August 2020.

Contracts:  The first of the new SHARP contracts are planned to start as early as September 2020.

Duration:  All SHARP-1 contracts are for a minimum of two years (24 months).


All needed application information and forms will be available on the SHARP’s web homepage.



All questions about this application cycle, or the applications themselves, should be posed via email to:

All general or other questions as regards SHARP, or other opportunities, should be emailed to


For technical assistance, statewide teleconferences are scheduled for interested parties to learn more about this SHARP-1 opportunity.  These teleconferences are optional, and any interested party can call-in.  In general, content repeats on the following dates.

Call 888-392-4560 then dial code 5818485#

o   Friday 5/29:  11:00-12:00

o   Friday 6/12:  11:00-12:00

o   Friday 6/26:  11:00-12:00

o   Friday 7/10:  11:00-12:00

Source: Alaska DHSS SHARP Program