UAA Career Certificates Help Fill Alaska’s Labor Pool

By Sean Parnell

Updated: 21 hours ago Published: 21 hours ago

Over the past two and a half years, we have seen Anchorage’s economy go from a strained transition of job losses, closures and unemployment to a labor shortage, with vacancies in almost all sectors. At the University of Alaska, Anchorage, we provide Alaskans with pathways to high-paying jobs and careers, which is why we continue to invest in our Accelerated Career and other professional endorsement certificate programs.

UAA’s Accelerated Career Certificates were created to help people quickly pivot their careers amid the pandemic in the face of a changing employment landscape. They joined the range of Professional Endorsement Certificates (OECs) that the university had offered for years. Today, we know these certificate programs are a key tool for economic growth because we listen to the needs of Alaska employers and help create and grow our programs accordingly. These programs are designed to quickly teach students the skills employers need, leading them to higher-paying jobs and helping fill the job pool in our state.

At UAA, we are announcing a new series of certificate programs addressing some of the state’s most critical needs. Tourism has regained full strength, with cruise lines and independent travelers flocking to the state; The UAA now offers an OEC in hospitality. The most sought-after soft skill in job postings in Anchorage is verbal and written communication; we now offer an OEC in Professional Writing.

The UAA has heard from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game that it needs more Alaska graduates, and we hope that our OEC Natural Resources Technician, in addition to our science degrees organic and natural, can help quickly fill this need. We also offer new CTOs in Ahtna Language, Dena’ina Language, Alaska Native Business Management, and Graphic Design. These programs join highly demanded certificates in areas such as auto-diesel technology, welding, culinary arts, accounting, and more.

Additionally, the UAA College of Health recently received a $4 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to help develop the state’s local health workforce. These funds are used to build new laboratories and classrooms and upgrade existing facilities, opening up new education and training opportunities. Most know the UAA College of Health for its nursing program, but did you know that the UAA College of Health offers over 40 other programs? We plan to double our graduates each year, and many of these programs can be completed in two years or less.

Alaska currently pays millions of dollars for out-of-state recruiting and salaries each year, another reason it is so imperative to train our own. Keeping a UAA education affordable is important, so we continue to expand and identify new opportunities for financial aid, and we remain committed to keeping tuition fees stable. Additionally, many of the courses at UAA are designed to use free or very low-cost textbooks. Recognizing the need for flexibility, we offer many courses via distance technologies, including fully online courses, live courses offered via Zoom and other web conferencing, and courses where students can choose whether they attend in person or online.

If you’re rethinking your career path or want to expand your skills, there’s no better time to start than now. Advisors are on hand to help you identify your ideal track. Call UAA Admissions at 907-786-1480 and set yourself on the path to a bright future.

Sean Parnell is the chancellor of the University of Alaska in Anchorage. He previously served as Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Alaska.

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