Training Alaska’s future seafood processing pros, now in its 9th year
This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Training Alaska’s future seafood processing professionals. More after this –
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People often talk about the graying of the fleet and the need to build future ranks of fishermen. The same applies to Alaska processors who also need recruits to keep those companies working. That’s been the goal of the Alaska Seafood Processing Leadership Institute, begun by Alaska Sea Grant in 2006.
Our goal as the university, as the Alaska Sea Grant program in doing this is work on the succession of the seafood industry in our state because it’s such a strong part of our economy.
Paula Cullenberg is Alaska Sea Grant director. Each fall Alaska companies sponsor an employee who wants to advance his or her career in the seafood business. The program, which begins each November, attracted 22 participants from all across Alaska, representing 10 seafood companies.
It starts with an eight day crash course of workshops and training at Kodiak’s Seafood and Marine Science Center. Students learn everything from microbiology to managing waste streams, quality control and hands on training on the latest processing equipment at the Center’s in-house mini seafood plant.
Chante Kochute of Anchorage is a field office administrator at the Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association. She appreciates the networking with other young seafood professionals –
“I knew that there were gonna be people who were just starting out in the industry, just like me, in processing industries all around Alaska, and it’s really good to network in the industry because as we move forward, the people that I’m meeting today are gonna be ten years down the line holding management positions in these companies.”
For Joshua Maricich, a Quality Assurance Manager at Icicle Seafoods, the training provides broader understanding of the industry from a wide range of instructors.
“When you’re working during the salmon season, it’s very hands on, and you’re learning on the job – but this was an opportunity to come and speak with industry experts and be able to learn in the classroom. Projects like microbiology. And there are some wonderful academics here are able to teach us things that we can’t learn during the season in the plants.”
Following the Kodiak training, the students have four months to apply what they’ve learned in a project of their choosing. They’ll present that at leadership training workshops in Anchorage in March. Then, it’s off to Seafood Expo North America in Boston.
Thanks to the assist from KMXT/Kodiak. www.kmxt.org
Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods – who salutes and says thanks to the men and women fishing across Alaska for their hard work and dedication. (www.oceanbeauty.com) In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.