Alaska January Economic Trends

In January Trends: Alaska Department of Labor & Workforce Development’s first issue of 2020 is their annual jobs forecast, detailing this year’s economic outlook for Alaska overall and for Anchorage, the Fairbanks area, and Southeast.

Source: Alaska Department of Labor & Workforce Development

UA System in Top 15 percent of Georgetown ROI Study

Sculpture at the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus. (Wikimedia Commons)

Alaska’s state university system is delivering some of the best bargains in the nation in terms of Alaskans’ earnings after graduation compared with what they pay for their college degrees or certificates.

A new Georgetown University study of 4,529 U.S. universities and colleges, including vocational and career institutions, put the University of Alaska system near the top the heap.

University of Alaska Anchorage ranked in the top 15 percent of the nationwide sample group in terms of the long-term, 40-year earnings from a four-year college degree. University of Alaska Fairbanks and University of Alaska Southeast weren’t far behind.

“What’s important about this is that is shows that students in Alaska’s universities are getting a very good return for their investment. UAA shows up as having particularly good value but UAF and UAS aren’t far behind,” said Erin Holmes, in UAA’s Institutional Research Group.

UAA graduates carried an average of $9,597 in debt, the Georgetown survey showed. After 40 years, UAA graduates had earned $963,000 in Net Present Value, according to the survey. With that, UAA ranked 696th out of 4,529 institutions of higher learning in the study. UAF graduates carried $9,500 in debt, on average, and earned $827,000 after 40 years, in Net Present Value. At University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau graduates carried an average debt load of $9,152 and earned $765,999 after 40 year, again in Net Present Value.

Alaska’s state university system is delivering some of the best bargains in the nation in terms of Alaskans’ earnings after graduation compared with what they pay for their college degrees

Read the full article here.

Source: UA system in top 15 percent of Georgetown ROI study – Press, Tim Bradner

‘Dual Enrollment in Alaska’ Analysis Shows Progress and Supports Next Steps

Dual enrollment programs provide access to college-level courses to high school students prior to graduation, often helping students become more successful in high school and easing their path to college. Between 2008 and 2017, University of Alaska (UA) dual enrollment programs experienced an 85 percent increase in student enrollment and, among those who graduated from high school, 41 percent went on to attend a UA institution within a year.

The new report, Dual Enrollment in Alaska: A 10-year retrospective and outcome analysis, by Dayna DeFeo, director of ISER’s Center for Alaska Education Policy Research, and Trang Tran, ISER Research Professional, looks at 10 years of UA enrollment records for dual enrollment (DE) offerings and includes 15,473 students who attended Alaska public neighborhood schools. The study provides an overview of dual enrollment – including types of programs, participation, and performance – and highlights opportunities to build on the current successes.

Source: ‘Dual Enrollment in Alaska’ analysis shows progress and supports next steps – Green & Gold News

Mat-Su Regional Expands Services, Adds Local Jobs

The new hyperbaric therapy center brought 10 jobs to Mat-Su Regional Medical Center, which is also expanding to its third floor with a $16.5 million renovation.

Mat-Su Regional Medical Center is now the only place in Alaska where patients can receive hyperbaric treatment.

The program relies on altering air pressure around patients, which can markedly improve patients’ recovery.

“Essentially what we do is dive them down to 66 to 70 feet below sea level with 100-percent oxygen,” said Dr. Rachel Cuevas, explaining the procedure. “(It) gives them more oxygen in their system to help heal.”

Cuevas is the medical director for the Advanced Wound Care and Hyperbaric Therapy Center that opened in October. She said the new equipment has changed the way staff care for patients. People with frostbite, for example, used to have to fly to Seattle for treatment or risk amputation.

“One of the first patients we ran in the chamber had lived her entire life out there in the Valley,” Cuevas said. “She had blood clots go to her toes and they were looking at amputating seven of her toes. We put her in the hyperbaric chamber for a number of treatments and we saved all of her toes.”

Not only is the center providing a new kind of care, it’s also brought about 10 jobs to the Mat-Su.

During Alaska’s recession, health care continues to be a bright spot.

The latest report from UAA’s Institute for Social and Economic Research shows Alaska gained 600 health care jobs in 2018; another 500 are expected to be added this year too.

Cuevas isn’t surprised by that data.

“Health care is one of those things you can’t do without,” she said.

Mat-Su Regional currently has more than 800 employees. The hospital will add dozens of more jobs as it expands operations to the building’s third floor and opens a new behavioral health unit.

“We’re in the east wing of our medical surgical unit, we’re expanding and adding 35 beds,” said CEO Dave Wallace, showing off the new area that’s still under construction. The entire renovation will cost about $16.5 million.

Wallace said Mat-Su Regional’s emergency room is often overcrowded, but the addition means more space for treatment to meet the growing needs of the region’s rising population.

“There are also nursing homes coming to the Valley for the first time and other services we work in tandem with, so we’re excited about developing the work force and making this a great place for health care workers to come,” he said.

Source: Mat-Su Regional expands services, adds local jobs – KTVA