Work-force strategies need continued support

Posted: Thursday, October 13, 2005

While looking at Alaska's future work force, it's easy to conclude we're living in a time of challenge and opportunity. We're pressed to fill jobs with Alaskans qualified to meet current challenges and ones presented by a gas pipeline.

Recently, the Alaska Workforce Investment Board (AWIB) Youth Council passed a resolution to increase the capacity for recruitment and training of workers for careers in the high-growth industries and to further the governor's vision to put Alaskans to work.

As a member of the AWIB and chair of its Youth Council, I'm aware it'll take everyone in all branches of state and local government and every component of the private sector to capture young people's attention and motivate them to consider these careers.

For example, students would easily transition into work if curriculums were aligned whereby bridges of support between the apprenticeship programs and the vocational training educators in schools supported each other.

Gov. Frank Murkowski and his administration are pursuing multiple strategies. For instance, Labor Commissioner Greg O'Claray has authorized millions of dollars for training in the construction industry alone. And at a recent YC meeting, he championed establishing vocational education funding in our school system and providing vocational career guidance in schools.

I encourage people to support these actions. This administration has a vision and plans to meet the needs of Alaska employers, workers and families.

Don Brandon, Chair

Alaska Workforce Investment Board, Youth Counci, Juneau

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