Today, March 3rd, Dianne Blumer and Wanetta Ayers with the Department of Labor and Workforce Development presented the plans and effects of oil and gas projects like the LNG project on Alaska’s workforce.
Director Ayers laid out a lot of plans which focused mostly on the future.
Ayers: “The focus of our oil and gas plan is really to cover through 2018. And it’s really important in terms of workforce development to use the funds that we have available, to time them appropriately so that the work force is ready at the time that the employers need them. These projects are going to demand thousands of qualified workers and many of those workers are just entering our middle and high schools right now.”
Ayers also addressed how the state is preparing for major economic opportunities that are in planning in the legislature.
Ayers: “Workforce development is about anticipating what employers needs are and figuring out how to fine tune the education and training systems to deliver that well qualified work force.”
She also gave some numbers showing that so far the workforce developments that have been instituted are working.
Ayers: “We can tell you that three years after all of the training funds had been expended, 80% of those individuals were working in Alaska and they had a total of about 1600 or 1700 individuals trained with those funds and they had $30 million in wages the quarter before their training and then three years later they had $43 million dollars in wages. So a significant increase in terms of their earnings potential.”
One question remaining is how the limited population of Alaska can build the LNG project without workers from out of state.