Statewide Office of Public Affairs
UA College Savings Plan announces $25,000 and $2,500 scholarship account winners
Monday, Nov. 18, 2013
Sixteen-year-old Cami Wood of Anchorage was randomly selected to win a $25,000 scholarship account in the UA College Savings Plan. Four more Alaskans from throughout the state won $2,500 scholarship accounts.
All Permanent Fund Dividend applicants who checked “yes” to question number six of their PFD application were automatically entered into the annual scholarship account drawing. The PFD checkoff asks residents if they would like to automatically contribute half of their dividend into a UA College Savings Plan account. The Education Trust of Alaska, established to administer the college savings program, funds the scholarship account giveaway.
“Cami was thrilled to get this scholarship,” said Cami’s mother, Louise Wood. “She is a junior at South High School and hasn’t chosen a college, but she is excited that this may fund more options.”
The winners of the $2,500 scholarship accounts are:
Hunter Dewall, 10, Anchorage
AJ Inthapanya-Yabut, 11, Anchorage
Jazlyn Fix, 9, Tok
Mizen Deraimer, 5, Juneau
The UA College Savings Plan has offered the scholarship account giveaway for the last four years. The drawing aims to give Alaska families an extra incentive to save their Permanent Fund Dividends for higher education expenses. More than 12,100 residents contributed to the UA College Savings Plan through the PFD check off this year, an increase of almost 1,000 people from the prior year. The plan has seen a 54 percent increase from the number of contributors since 2009, before the giveaway began.
“We encourage parents and grandparents to help build a child’s college savings account by contributing their PFDs as well,” said Lael Oldmixon, executive director of the College Savings Plan. She noted that family members participating in the checkoff increase a family’s odds of winning the drawing. “Last year a grandmother won and assigned her winnings to her granddaughter,” Oldmixon said.
The UA College Savings Plan will offer the scholarship account giveaway again next year to residents who contribute half of their 2014 PFD to the plan through the official application, which may be completed online or by visiting a distribution center. The application period runs Jan. 1 through March 31, 2014.
Beneficiaries in the Plan may use their funds to pay for education expenses at any eligible college, university, or vocational/technical school in Alaska or the Lower 48. Families can open a tax-advantaged account with their PFD contribution, or with as little as $50 a month.
For more information about the PFD, go to http://www.pfd.state.ak.us . To learn more about the UA College Savings Plan and the $25,000 Scholarship Account Giveaway, go to http://www.uacollegesavings.com
Contact: Bonnie Carroll (907) 978-8818
For a 200 dpi photo of Cami Wood (photo credit Andre Horton) please go to: http://www.alaska.edu/files/opa/Cami-Wood.JPG
Workforce plan aims to attract Alaskans to fisheries, seafood and maritime careers
Friday, Nov. 15, 2013
Players in Alaska’s widespread maritime industry have taken a big step toward hammering out the details of a statewide workforce development plan.
The document recommends a series of strategies that support current and future workers in areas deemed most critical, whether at a seafood processing plant, a shipyard, on the fishing grounds or in a diesel mechanic shop. Identified priorities are:
- Growing career awareness;
- Developing career pathways;
- Improving access to employment;
- Training Alaskans for fisheries, seafood and maritime employment;
- And improving industry engagement and accountability.
The Fisheries, Seafood and Maritime Workforce Development Plan has been developed over the past two years and continues to involve the input of seafood processors, commercial fishing associations, state and federal agencies, independent vessel operators, marine support industries, University of Alaska representatives and regional training providers. An occupational needs-assessment was used to determine critical jobs and prioritize strategies to fill them with Alaskans. The plan identifies actions and partners who can work together to avoid duplication and deliver the right training to the right people in the right communities. It provides educators the details needed to develop curricula and outlines an outreach plan for people interested in such careers.
“I’ve been with the university for eight years and have been involved in multiple workforce development plans; from my perspective this is the first time that a workforce development plan has been built with this much industry input,” said Fred Villa, associate vice president of workforce development at the University of Alaska.
In a meeting of the Industry Advisory Committee Oct. 31, participants identified priority occupations and the resources needed to provide training. The group identified six-month, one-year and two-year priorities.
“It was great to finally get a mix of educators, trainers and industry together. For those of us on the industry and informal training side, it was good to get an introduction to the challenges of coordinating different trainers outside the university system, as well as the opportunity to learn more from Jeff Johnston (Director, UAS Sitka) about the growing Fisheries Technology program within the University of Alaska Southeast,” said Julie Decker of the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation.
There’s a big reason why the university decided to lead the effort to produce a job-ready workforce for these industries: In 2012, Alaska produced over 5 billion pounds of seafood--more than 57 percent of what was produced in the entire nation. This summer for the first time, Alaska surpassed a billion pounds of salmon alone. The human capital required is immense, but there are not enough Alaskans entering the workforce to maintain this industry into the future.
“This industry does not involve just a couple of people--it’s an army of people doing it,” said Kris Norosz, government affairs director at Icicle Seafood Inc. and co-chair of the Fisheries, Seafood and Maritime Industry Advisory Committee. “We need to ensure that we can continue this into the future. This whole effort to develop a Workforce Development Plan isn’t just about putting people to work. It’s about strengthening communities.”
Continued connection between industry, government and educators to implement the plan is vital.
UA President Pat Gamble explained to the group how the university identified fisheries, seafood and maritime workforce development as priority topics to focus on over the next few years. He said a gap analysis was conducted and focused on finding out from employers what skills are required for positions in their industries. The university intends to refocus its partnerships with AVTEC and regional training centers to provide workforce training that meets those requirements.
“This plan will be used by policy makers,” said Norosz. “All these different audiences don’t know our industries. We need them to understand why this is important to us, why it is needed and how it’s going to benefit Alaska and Alaskans. We want their help to implement it.”
For a copy of the latest workforce plan, go to http://www.alaska.edu/files/fsmi/FSMI_WFD_Plan_Draft_10.19.13.pdf
For more information, call Paula Cullenberg, Director Alaska Sea Grant College Program, at 907-274-9692 or email her at email@example.com