UAA helps Anchorage build workforce capacity

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed Alaskans’ lives and impacted our economy in ways we never could have imagined, leaving many people unemployed and struggling financially.

The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development reports Alaska’s job count was down 12.2% in May from the same month last year, a loss of more than 42,000 jobs.

Some jobs have been impossible to perform during the pandemic due to workplace restrictions on in-person staffing. Demand for other services has dwindled as Anchorage residents limit their activities to those deemed essential, such as purchasing groceries and household supplies.

Even in the midst of the pandemic, new job opportunities have unexpectedly emerged, particularly in the health care sector. The need for skilled contact tracing investigators to identify individuals exposed to COVID-19 has skyrocketed. Other jobs, such as those in the IT sector, have remained in demand; hiring increases in other sectors are likely to be needed as organizations across the state reopen.

At the University of Alaska Anchorage, university leaders have been listening to feedback from industry partners and state and local officials regarding real-time employment needs.

Read the full article here.

Source: UAA helps Anchorage build workforce capacity – Anchorage Press

Alaska June Economic Trends

In June Trends: This month we look at the oil industry’s history of employment swings and how this current round of losses differs. This issue includes an update on COVID-19-related job losses based on the first available detailed data, and on who received unemployment benefits in April as a result.

Source: Department of Labor and Workforce Development

Delivering CTE programs in remote, blended and social-distanced environments

This webinar will take a broader, administrator-level look at offering postsecondary CTE programs in remote, blended and socially-distanced learning environments, including how institutions are planning for upcoming courses and the overall repercussions of the pandemic on CTE programs. Topics will include working with other institution leaders to make decisions about blended and socially-distanced models, creative approaches to the delivery of CTE programs in the context of those decisions, evaluating CTE program offerings and related staffing decisions in light of current budget situations and safety concerns, recruiting students in the current environment and utilizing CARES Act funds.

Source: ACTE

Virtual Microgrid Boot Camp prepares students for utility internships

ACEP’s Jeremy Vandermeer simulates solar energy integrated into microgrid for 2019 boot camp participants. Photo by Amanda Byrd.

The second Microgrid Boot Camp is wrapping up this week. Previously a hands-on learning experience at Alaska Center for Energy and Power facilities in Fairbanks, the boot camp this year is held in an online format due to coronavirus restrictions. It remains a collaboration between ACEP and the Laboratory for Energy And Power Solutions at Arizona State University.

The course was originally developed by LEAPS as part of the Naval Enterprise Partnership Teaming with Universities for National Excellence program, an energy research project funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, to break new ground in alternative energy employment for student veterans.

The intensive five-day training focuses on technical, economic and regulatory basics of microgrids, with an emphasis on Alaska energy challenges. Camp participants earn one credit through the UAF Bristol Bay Campus and are primarily University of Alaska undergraduate students who have been selected for the ACEP Utility Student Internship program.

This year the camp expanded to a full capacity of 16 participants: nine UA undergrad students, four students from out of state and three participants from a regional tribal consortium. ACEP intends to continue expanding the reach of the course in the future to utility members, city and tribal councils, housing authorities, trade schools and programs, and utility industry personnel.

ACEP researchers, ASU collaborators and Alaska energy experts are engaging with the participants and sharing their expertise via sessions such as microgrid design activities, virtual Power Systems Integration Lab tour and demonstration, and Alaska Energy Authority powerhouse tours.  There will be a group collaboration project on electric vehicles and an energy audit activity, among other presentations, and virtual hands-on learning activities.

The boot camp outfits participants with the knowledge and skills to prime them for online-based summer internship project work with remote and railbelt utilities, many of which have started the process of integrating renewable and alternative energy sources into their grids.

The Microgrid Boot Camp is funded by a grant from the Office of Naval Research.

For more information on the ACEP Microgrid Boot Camp, please contact Heike Merkel.

Source: Virtual Microgrid Boot Camp prepares students for utility internships – UAF Cornerstone