SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Governor Walker Restores Alaska Hire Requirements

Determination will require 90% Alaska Hire on public projects

June 12, 2015
Friday PM

(SitNews) Anchorage, Alaska - Governor Bill Walker and the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Heidi Drygas announced Wednesday the restoration of statewide Alaska Hire standards for publicly-funded infrastructure projects through a Department of Labor and Workforce Development “Zone of Underemployment” determination. Effective July 1, 2015, this determination will ensure that at least 90% of jobs on public projects, such as road construction, are awarded to Alaskans.

Rendezvous Senior Day Services, Inc. - Ketchikan, Alaska

C&D Storage - Ketchikan, Alaska

“Alaskans know how to build infrastructure, and state funding for public projects should employ Alaskans first,” Governor Walker said. “With this Alaska Hire determination, we are restoring a long-standing, non-partisan policy that puts Alaskans to work on important infrastructure projects.”

A series of Independent, Republican, and Democratic governors established and maintained Alaska Hire requirements for public projects until the program was terminated in 2013. The Alaska Legislature established clear standards under which Alaska Hire requirements must apply in Alaska Statutes 36.10.140 and 36.10.150. The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s Research & Analysis Section economic data reveals that Alaska currently meets those conditions.

Alaska Hire requirements apply to a wide range of occupations such as equipment operators, surveyors, truck drivers, welders, laborers, mechanics, engineers and architects. If contractors are unable to locate Alaskans who are trained to complete a job, they must obtain a waiver before hiring non-residents. Workers or contractors with questions about Alaska Hire requirements should contact the Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s Wage and Hour office at (907) 269-4900.

The Alaska Republican Party responded in a prepared statement to the announcement that Alaska has once again become a “zone of underemployment.”

“It’s unfortunate that Alaska’s unemployment numbers have spiked under this governor so much that he has had to declare Alaska an actual ‘zone of underemployment,’ ” said party Vice Chairman Frank McQueary.

“During the previous Republican administration, the unemployment rate was well below the national average for four years. But just six months into a Democrat administration, the state has slipped backward into what the governor is seeing as current and future chronic unemployment,” McQueary said.

According to the Alaska Republican Party press release, the actual effect of declaring it a zone of underemployment is minor. Public works jobs that have zero federal dollars attached will now have an Alaska hire preference, with exceptions. But, in fact, fewer than 10 percent of all public construction jobs in Alaska are in this category.

The statute that governs the designation (S 36.10.150) mandates the state must have substantially higher rates of unemployment than the national average according to the Alaska Republican Party.

“We understand the governor’s action to be symbolic, and that he has declared the designation pre-emptively because he believes unemployment will continue to grow in Alaska,” McQueary said. “This may have populist appeal from the Alaska-hire standpoint, but it shows the governor lacks confidence in our state’s economy. It didn’t help that he put major construction projects, such as Juneau Access and Knik Arm Crossing, on ice in December, and has failed to move the gas line forward. What message does that send to construction workers?”



Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews


On the Web:

Zone of Underemployment determination 06/10/15 (pdf)


Source of News:

Office of Gov. Bill Walker

Alaska Republican Party


Publish A Letter in SitNews

Contact the Editor

SitNews ©2015
Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska

 Articles & photographs that appear in SitNews may be protected by copyright and may not be reprinted without written permission from and payment of any required fees to the proper sources.

E-mail your news & photos to

Photographers choosing to submit photographs for publication to SitNews are in doing so granting their permission for publication and for archiving. SitNews does not sell photographs. All requests for purchasing a photograph will be emailed to the photographer.