September 24, 2014


This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Building Alaska’s maritime workforce. More after this –


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Alaska’s coastal economies depend on the seafood industry and the whole state relies on ships to get  goods from one place to another.   Getting more Alaskans into maritime trades is the goal of a new workforce development plan released by the Dept. of Labor. It is the result of two years of collaboration by industry sectors, state agencies and educators. For the first time it breaks down maritime jobs into a unique related workforce and identifies 23 different occupation types from fishing to research to shipbuilding and repairs.


  I think one thing the plan really points out is how reliant our economy is on the maritime industry. Not only do we have a huge economic sector with seafood harvesting and processing – but everything in maritime and marine trades. And then all the scientific work that goes on to support it. It is a real network of economic activity.  


Wanetta Ayers is Director of Business Partnerships at the Department of Workforce Development. There are not enough workers now to meet demand Ayers says in all kinds of maritime jobs.


One of the main areas of focus for plan is helping Alaskans identify what those good career living wage opportunities   are in the maritime industry are and there are lots of them.  Mostly it is a factor of identifying what the right pathways what the right factors are to get into some of these long term legacy jobs that are available in the maritime industry and will provide for a livelihood that can take you through your entire life.  


One of the occupations identified in the plan is machinist – there is increased automation and complexity with a lot of our seafood plants and we need young people with those kinds of skills so that they’re not calling on circuit writers from the Lower 48 to come up and keep our plants working. There is tremendous opportunity but we need to look beyond the frontline jobs- which may make up the largest count in terms of workers but there are good well paying jobs in maritime and I want to see Alaskans working in those occupations.  


A new maritime workforce webpage is already up and running at the Department of Labor’s Workforce Development site.


I can tell you working with this industry advisory committee what’s motivated them throughout this entire process is to really showcase what the opportunities are and make sure there are clear pathways for people to movie into those great jobs.  


Find links to the user friendly workforce development plan rat


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