New workforce data highlights the University of Alaska’s impact on preparing students for Alaska jobs & good wages

An in-depth analysis of nine major Alaska industries captures the impact that university programs have in preparing its students for jobs in Alaska’s workforce. The reports answer key questions related to the largest and fastest growing occupations that require some postsecondary education and highlights important employment indicators such as average wages earned, where UA grads work in Alaska, what industries they work in, and how they help boost the Alaska hire rate.

The workforce development and institutional research offices at the University of Alaska partnered with the Research and Analysis Section in the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development to create the reports, which demonstrate UA graduate outcomes in nine key fields — administration and finance, aviation, construction, fisheries and marine science, health, information technology, mining, oil and gas, and teacher education. The reports can be found at https://www.alaska.edu/ research/wd/reports.php.

“We are in the business of creating Alaska’s workforce,” UA Interim President Pat Pitney told the Senate Education Committee on Feb. 3, adding that 70 to 90 percent of UA graduates stay in Alaska and find employment. 

The health report, for example, shows that of more than 2,300 nursing graduates in both 2-year and 4-year programs, 89 percent remain in Alaska after graduation and are employed at an average wage of $70,000.

Teri Cothren, University of Alaska Associate Vice President Workforce Development, said: “This data demonstrates the success of our core programs and how we are contributing to Alaska’s high‐demand industries and economy.” 

In preparing the reports, the university analyzed labor market information to identify the largest and fastest-growing occupations in the nine industries, then linked related UA programs to those jobs. Detailed employment and wage information was extracted from employer quarterly reports filed with the Dept. of Labor. That means the numbers are based on a comprehensive match of all graduates who remain and work in Alaska.

“The economic value of training and education is abundantly clear in the data,” said Dan Robinson, Chief Labor Research & Analysis, Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. “More education and training also correlate strongly with lower unemployment rates.”  

Median earnings, for example, jumped from $35,328 for high school graduates to $44,619 for Alaskans with an associate degree, $57,708 for those with a bachelor’s degree, and $77,402 for holders of graduate or professional degrees. 

Read the full article here.

Source: UA News Center

Alaska ACTE Honors Excellence in Career and Technical Education

AlaskaACTEThe Alaska Association for Career and Technical Education celebrated 13 outstanding Alaskan educators, workforce development champions, and business and community leaders with awards at their October 2018 state conference in Anchorage.

  1. Outstanding CTE Teacher of the Year: Chris Taylor, Mat-Su Career Tech High School, Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District
  1. Outstanding NEW CTE Teacher of the Year, sponsored by Alaska Business Education Compact: Vanessa Forbes, King Tech High School, Anchorage School District
  1. Business/Information Technology Teacher of the Year, sponsored by Alaska Business Week: Ken Werner, Alaska Vocational Technical Education Center
  1. Industrial/Technology Teacher of the Year, sponsored by Construction Industry Progress Fund: Peter Daley, Hutchison High School, Fairbanks North Star Borough School District
  1. Health Sciences Teacher of the Year: Kelly Woolcott, Mat-Su Career Tech High School, Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District
  1. Hospitality/Tourism Teacher of the Year, sponsored by Alaska CHARR: Melinda Dooley, Service High School, Anchorage School District
  1. STEM Teacher of the Year, sponsored by Alaska Resource Education: John Notestine, Wasilla High School, Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District
  1. CTE Administrator of the Year: Jon Clouse, Southwest Region School District
  1. Promising Practices Award, sponsored by Andrews Auctions, Appraisals and Professional Services: Christel Mozaelevskiy, Redington High School, Educators Rising Program, Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District
  1. Leadership Award, sponsored by LeCompte Consulting: Marcia Olson, Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development
  1. Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by Alaska Process Industry Careers Consortium: Fred Villa, Workforce Development, University of Alaska
  1. Community Contribution Award: John Plutt, Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 375, Fairbanks
  1. Community Contribution Award: Gloria Burnett, Alaska Center for Rural Health and Health Workforce/Alaska Health Education Consortium

Source: Alaska Association for Career and Technical Education

Workforce Wednesday: Software Development

Software developers can solve all sorts of real world problems — from timing the Iron Dog race, to how the Alaska Department of Fish and Game collects data.

Geoff Wright, president of Pango Technology in Anchorage, says developers help build software that impacts how oil moves through our pipeline, or to the maintenance of cell towers. He said Pango is currently working with the Division of Motor Vehicles to improve its testing.

Wright said, for instance, Pango helped to make software that replaced the manual timing of the Iron Dog snow machine race. Another example is working with the Department of Fish and Game to replace its old pen and paper system of counting fish, to a smartphone based system. Under the new system a fish could be logged as soon as it’s caught and reported back the state biologist.

Pango typically recruits from the University of Alaska Anchorage. Wright mentioned the company has an active apprenticeship program that has worked out very well for them. The company tries to get the students as soon as they graduate.

Cassie Ostrander with the Alaska Process Industry Careers Consortium said starting out, people can make around $4,000 a month. The wage can go as high as $9,000 a month with more experience. Ostrander added that Pango is hiring, as well as GCI, KTVA’s parent company, and the Municipality of Anchorage.

For more information, head to either APICC’s or Pango Technology’s website.

Watch this Workforce Wednesday video segment here.

Source: Workforce Wednesday: Software development » KTVA 11

Workforce Wednesday: Geospatial Science

There are more than 2 million images of Alaska dating back to the 1930s, all used to monitor changes due to climate, earthquakes, volcanoes and coastal erosion, according to Stephen Sparks, an imaging specialist with Quantum Spatial.

“We can look at things like how Turnagain neighborhood changed after the 1964 earthquake or how a community like Utquiagvik, formerly Barrow, has changed over time,” Sparks said. “[There are] many, many uses for the photography.”

This type of high-tech imaging and mapping is called geospatial science, and nearly every industry in Alaska uses these types of services in one form or another, according to Cari-Ann Carty with Alaska Process Industry Careers Consortium (APICC).

“Different industries that might be looking at this are in oil and gas, timber industries, federal and local state agencies to do local neighborhood mapping,” Carty said.

There are several career opportunities in geospatial science and services. Quantum Spatial, a geospatial data company in Anchorage, hires people who are pilots, aircraft mechanics, sensor operators, geologists, chemists foresters and computer programmers.

“We work a lot with oil and gas companies,” said Adam McCullough, development director with Quantum. “We will map their pipeline infrastructure and kind of model how it’s changing over time. So we can help them direct where they want to focus maintenance and repairs.”

A person starting an internship in geospatial science can earn about $15 an hour. Typically, once a person has gained experience, they earn upwards of $25 to $30 an hour, says Carty.

To see which companies are hiring, head to APICC’s website.

Source: Workforce Wednesday: Geospatial Science | KTVA 11

Workforce Wednesday: Opportunities within the Municipality of Anchorage


The Municipality of Anchorage is hosting a free “job shop” aimed at supporting residents looking for employment. The program started in Mountain View and has expanded to the Z.J. Loussac Public Library. The job shops are part of Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz’s goal to create employment opportunities and be innovative in Alaska’s uncertain economic times.

“If you look at the bones of the Alaska economy, we are strong, still a resource development state, there is still plenty of opportunity,” Berkowitz said Wednesday.

There are hundreds of jobs that the Municipality offers, from information technology to law enforcement, maintenance and more. One city department that’s “in full growth mode,” according to the mayor, is the police department. Berkowitz has pushed for the department’s growth, which he now says has nearly 420 officers. An academy is set to start this summer.

A full list of Anchorage Municipality jobs can be found at the city’s website. More information can be found at the Alaska Process Industry Careers Consortium’s website.

Watch the Workforce Wednesday video segment here.

Source: Workforce Wednesday: Opportunities within the Municipality of Anchorage | KTVA 11