Addressing the Kenai Chapter of the Alliance last week, members of the Kenai Peninsula Industry Careers Committee (KPICC) detailed their topic entitled, "Our Competitive Advantage is Our People." Underscoring their commitment to the new process technologies program at Kenai Peninsula College (KPC), Colleen Ward and Sal Mattero presented award jackets and honorariums to KPC instructors for their efforts. Singled out for recognition were Ken Domke, Allen Houtz, Bill Murray, Polly Norwood, Dave Spann and Lloyd Stewart. According to Sal Mattero, KPICC chairman, the committee is facilitating the interest of industry, educators and government with the intent of building up the workforce on the Kenai Peninsula. "We're looking to introduce the students in high school with the thought of having a career in the process industry and getting them the skills to step into the many jobs here on the peninsula so that they become satisfied and successful workers after school," said Mattero.
According to Mattero, the average age of the Peninsula workforce is between 45-50 years of age and that means many job opportunities will be opening up as the baby boomer workforce starts retiring. With a power point presentation KPICC members outlined some dramatic facts about students on the Peninsula. According to the committee, 100% of students enter the 10th grade level of high school, 88% graduate from high school and take at least some college courses, only 25% will finish a Bachelors degree, and only 5% or less go on to obtain a Masters degree or above. The KPICC is committed to working with parents to let students know that there are alternatives that can lead to quality careers where students may remain and raise families here on the Peninsula. "We also want students that go out of state for their college education to know that there are jobs here on the Peninsula and there are industries that require their skills and that they can be just as successful here as they can in the lower 48," said Mattero. Colleen Ward says the KPICC intends to further their work of forming partnerships to enhance the future work force of the community, and will be taking their message throughout the Peninsula at various Chamber of Commerce meetings.
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