The NMA reports that Hecla Mining Co is hard at work training the next generation of job seekers in Alaska. The company, which owns and operates Greens Creek mine in southeast part of the state, has partnered with the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) to embark on an educational program that trains local high school students for technically focused mining careers.
The program began in 2011 when Hecla donated $300,000 to UAS to create an “Introduction to Mining Occupations and Operations” course for local high school students. This quickly expanded into a program called The Pathway to Mining Careers. “The pathway” begins with an introductory course for high school juniors and seniors and concludes with enrollment in Hecla Greens Creek Mine Academy, where students earn the federally recognized certification required to work at any mine in the United States.
“Our focus here at UAS is to get students interested in careers in mining,” said Graham Neale, the Director of UAS’ Center for Mine Training, and to educate the local Alaska workforce in those skilled positions. We’re interested in casting a wide net to high school students, letting them know about the opportunities available in the mining industry, different types of careers. Speakers talk about how they got to where they are. Health and safety, equipment operations, mechanics – you get it from the horse’s mouth, from those who have walked the walk in the mining industry.”
The results so far have been encouraging—258 students have taken the intro class, 48 advanced to the Hecla Greens Creek Mine Academy, and 15 went on to graduate with a UAS certification in mining.
Holding the attention of tomorrow’s scientists and engineers can be tricky. Fortunately, Juneau is rife with professionals who work in those fields every day.
A group of local STEM — or science, technology, engineering and math — advocates is working on a database to make it easy for teachers to connect bookwork with real world work and find those professionals.
“From mining expertise and engineering, kind of geology, we have the glacial, we have University of Alaska Southeast, University of Alaska Fairbanks has fisheries here, we have NOAA fisheries, we have all the state organizations,” said Jordan Watson, a fisheries scientist at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA. “We have so many different expertise here and in such a small town, it would seem a shame to not be using it in the classrooms.”
He and other members of SouthEast Exchange, or SEE, wanted to find a way to bring all of those resources to teachers. They hosted a networking event recently to help bridge that gap.
About 150 educators and STEM professionals came to network and register in SEE’s directory.
The Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant Program (TAACCCT) is a $1.9 billion investment in more than 700 community colleges nationwide spanning 2011-2018. To find Alaska’s TAACCCT Profile, along with other states, click here or the above image.
Juneau, Alaska – Hecla Greens Creek Mining Company has pledged to renew a $300,000 commitment to the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) Center for Mine Training for their “Pathways to Mining Careers” program beginning in Fall 2017. This brings the company’s total investment in local mine training to more than $900,000 since 2011.
The program is a unique collaboration between UAS and Hecla Greens Creek instructors to prepare students for mining careers by offering introductory high school dual enrollment courses at UAS, short-term occupational endorsements in Mine Mechanics and the Associate’s degree in Power Technology/Diesel Mechanics. The program also offers job shadowing opportunities with Hecla Greens Creek mentors. The “Pathways to Mining Careers” culminates in an opportunity for a six month term of probationary employment with the mine and a chance at full employment.
On Workforce Wednesday, KTVA sat down with State Economist Neil Fried who discussed what industries provided the best opportunities for someone in Alaska hoping to join the workforce.
According to Neil, some of the best industries to aim for when looking for work in the state are healthcare, mining, tourism, fishing and air cargo. These Industries are essential for Alaska, and therefore will always need positions filled.
When asked which industry provided what he believed to be the best opportunity for employment, Neil stated that he believed healthcare was the best bet. Due to people always needing care despite changing times, and how the need for healthcare grows as our population grows, that the business of healthcare was a great place to look for employment.
Neil also believes that younger people looking to enter the field are in a great position to find work in today’s world.