Editorial: Skills build the workforce

We’ve heard a lot about Alaska’s economic downturn. Low oil prices have had a ripple effect on businesses across Alaska, and the Legislature continues to try to figure out how to deal with a decrease in state revenue.

 

We’d like to take a moment to highlight a couple of opportunities that Kenai Peninsula residents can take advantage of.

We’re pleased to see that Kenai Peninsula College is once again offering training to become a Certified Nursing Assistant. While Alaska’s job market may be contracting, the health care field is an exception and continues to grow. Becoming a CNA is a great way to gain entry into the field. According to employment projections from the Bureau of Labor, the need for CNAs will increase by nearly 11 percent nationwide over the next ten years, with an estimated expected 2 million job openings each year.

KPC’s course will help students, who range in age from high school senior to senior citizen, meet the state requirements to become a CNA. Audrey Standerfer, KPC’s CNA adjunct instructor and Kenai River Campus Student Clinic coordinator, told the Clarion she expects the program to continue to grow.

Those looking to start a new career can also take advantage of the University of Alaska’s new Career Coach web-based tool, which includes two assessments that can help someone find a good career match. Users also can search Alaska job postings, find available workforce and educational opportunities, and access current labor market and wage data — so that you can determine how much opportunity there is to find a good job in any given career field.

Certainly, it takes more than a quick online assessment to build a career, and there can be many different paths to success, but the Career Coach tool can be a good place to start for those trying to figure out what comes next.

We can’t predict where Alaska’s economy will go in the next few years, but we can offer this advice: having good training in a growing career field is the best way to go from job seeker to part of the workforce, and it’s good to see opportunities to do so provided locally.

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