Aeronautics in the Far North: Success of Poker Flat, Unmanned Aircraft Program Benefits Alaska

The University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Poker Flat Research Range closed out its launch season earlier this month with a bang — three of them, to be precise. Early in the morning of March 2, three Black Brant IX sounding rockets streaked into the ionosphere, carrying instruments to study the aurora borealis’ visible structure and the formation of auroral “jets” caused by Earth’s magnetic field. In the almost 50 years since its founding, Poker Flat has been a consistent driver for UAF research, a vehicle for advances in atmospheric science and one of the university’s biggest success stories.

Launch seasons at the facility take place from January to March and usually see a handful of rockets fly each year. This year, there were five, with four of them clustered in late February and early March. The range plays a big part in UAF’s space research efforts as well as NASA’s near-Earth space science. At its humble beginnings, the future success of the range would have been hard to predict.

Read the full article here.

Source: Aeronautics in the far north: Success of Poker Flat, unmanned aircraft program benefits Alaska | Editorials |

Workforce Wednesday: Engineering in Alaska

Alaska is home to dozens of engineering specialties, ranging from civil to mechanical, aerospace to ship building. If there’s a big infrastructure project, chances are there was an engineer involved.

Engineers also make a broad salary, averaging anywhere from $46 to $73 per hour, according to Cassie Ostrander, a spokesperson for the Alaska Process Industry Careers Consortium (APICC). She and Kristina Storlie joined the Daybreak crew to discuss engineering jobs in Alaska.

Storlie used to work in the food service industry. Now, as a mechanical engineer, Storlie spends her day behind a desk or out in the field, so “every single day is completely different!” Storlie works under a professional engineer, and says she’s done everything from working on a hospital facility to the rocket launch facility on Kodiak Island.

People looking for that career change can enroll in the University of Alaska Anchorage’s or University of Alaska Fairbanks’ engineering programs, or drop in at an engineering firm and leave their resume. Ostrander said that ASRC Energy Services and CH2M both have open positions. She added that some firms will create a position for a person if they have the right skill set.

For more information, visit APICC’s website or watch the video segment here.

Source: Workforce Wednesday: Engineering in Alaska | KTVA 11

Workforce Wednesday: Looking to the Past to Understand Future Careers

University of Alaska Fairbanks professor Terence Cole has been looking to Alaska’s past to gain insight into the future of careers in our state. What he found was that most jobs that were available more than a century ago don’t exist anymore, and that people need to be instilled with a willingness to adapt change.

“Life is a series of one adaptation after another, and the dramatic changes that have taken place in Alaska over history drive that lesson home like nothing else,” Cole said.

What he realized is that Alaska needs to teach the young workforce to adapt, because the types of careers available now might not be in the next 150 years.

However, according to Cole, Alaska has a competitive edge because it is a natural resource state and probably will be for some time. That means there might always be jobs in mining, fishing, oil and gas.

Cole says that if people are willing to adapt quickly, there will always be career opportunities outside of those resource-dependent jobs.

“Young people need to be prepared,” he said. “They need the best education possible and essentially learning the good habits that everybody does for discipline and be willing to change.”

For more information on new careers, visit the Alaska Process Industry Careers Consortium website.

Watch the Workforce Wednesday video segment here.

Source: Workforce Wednesday: Looking to the past to understand future careers | KTVA 11

Workforce Wednesday: Miner Training

People looking for a career in mining and wanting to get hands on training can now get their hands dirty and learn employability skills. The Mining and Petroleum Training Service, which is a part of the University of Alaska, has a training facility 30 miles outside of Delta Junction. According to Bill Bieber, who’s with MAPTS, it’s a world-class facility.

“We have the underground facility with the under ground equipment that is also used in mines like Green’s Creek and POGO,” he said. Bieber added there are also two state-of-the-art simulators for students to use. One is for surface equipment, the other is for underground. What really makes the facility unique is that the training center is underground, and students have two weeks on and two weeks off. That makes the place “camp style”, in that respect, so that when people transition they can balance life skills with the work they do. In addition, it’s also so that they’re ready to get a job as soon as they graduate.

“We have over 90 percent placement in companies all over the state,” Bieber mentioned. He went on to say that it’s a great opportunity and that people who go through it do very well in the industry.

For more information, visit the Alaska Process Industry Process Careers Consortium website.

Watch the full video segment here.

Source: Workforce Wednesday: Miner Training | KTVA 11

Workforce Wednesday: Becoming a Veterinarian

From sled dogs and house cats to seals and bears, veterinarians in Alaska have a wide variety of animals to care for. The pay isn’t bad either. According to Martha Peck with Alaska Process Industry Careers Consortium, veterinarians make roughly $7,800 a month. Vet technicians make roughly $3,500 and assistants pull in $2,400.

Erin Earhart, a veterinarian with The Pet Stop, says the best way to get involved is to shadow at a clinic to see if it will be a good fit. One way to get involved is to start in an entry level position, like a receptionist, and work up from there. Jobs aren’t limited to just one field. Skills can transfer to Anchorage Animal Care and Control to retail space as well.

To get started in high school, King Career Center in Anchorage, and Mat-Su Career Tech High School are good places.

“The University of Alaska Fairbanks, in partnership with Colorado State University, has a program where you spend two years at UAF and go down to Colorado State to complete that degree,” Peck added. There are even online options available.

To explore this career and more, visit the Alaska Process Industry Careers Consortium website.

Watch the full video segment here.

Source: Workforce Wednesday: Becoming a veterinarian | KTVA 11