November 15, 2003
In remarks Thursday, November 13 in Anchorage, Governor Frank H. Murkowski said the initiative goal is resident hire rates of 90 percent or higher in construction, oil and gas, mining, seafood and forest products and tourism, as well as state and federal government.
Murkowski addressed members of the Associated General Contractors of Alaska meeting at the Captain Cook Hotel. He called on senior managers of each AGC member company to sign an Alaska hire pledge calculated to meet the 90 percent objective.
The Governor and Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development Greg O'Claray unveiled a graphic design to identify participating Alaska hire member firms. The blue and gold logo, similar in design to the Alaska state flag, carries the legend "We hire Alaskans! It's good for business."
The logo also incorporates a banner, "We're proud to be at 90%," for companies to display when they achieve that level of resident employment.
The governor said the pledge "recognizes the importance of the economic impact that employers have in the State of Alaska and in support of the Alaska resident workforce." Those participating in the program promise that their companies will:
Governor Murkowski and Commissioner O'Claray recognized two AGC member companies for having already met the Alaska hire target of 90 percent or higher, represented by Jason Matieson of Cornerstone Construction in Anchorage, and Ron Davis, of Alaska Roadbuilders in Kenai.
"Their management teams didn't wait for some official encouragement to hire Alaskans first, "O'Claray said. "They did it on their own and today they've achieved more than 90 percent Alaska hire throughout their companies."
The commissioner called on AGC members to "Make a pledge to make a difference in the lives of the people of Alaska."
Earlier this year Murkowski asked Commonwealth North to research and prepare a report entitled "Alaska's Jobs for Alaska's People."
The report, underwritten by BP Exploration Alaska and co-chaired by Dr. Alice Galvin of BP and Jeff Staser of the Denali Commission, included two sentences that O'Claray said "jumped right off the page" and demonstrates why Alaska-hire must be a priority:
"In 2001, 68,000 non-resident workers held jobs vital to Alaska's economy and earned over $1 billion in wages. The lion's share of these wages went into the economies of the workers' home state."
"That's not acceptable," O'Claray said, noting for the contractors that earlier this year the Governor called for, and O'Claray implemented, a directive under the Alaska Employment Preference Act identifying the state as an official "Zone of Under-Employment."
The declaration requires that 90 percent of workers in affected contracts in some 15 construction crafts must be Alaska residents.
O'Claray said AGC member firms that sign the Alaska hire pledge will be recognized in public service campaigns and by "We hire Alaskans!" bumper and window stickers and special events.
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