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600 Alaskans from distressed fisheries
take advantage of career retraining


November 02, 2004

Juneau, Alaska - More than 600 Alaskans displaced because of competition from foreign farmed salmon have so far taken advantage of career retraining made possible through a Commercial Salmon Fisheries Assistance program and an $8 million National Emergency Grant.

"NEG training is clearly working. We join Alaska's fishing industry in applauding and thanking the senators for their support and assistance," said Labor Commissioner Greg O'Claray.

"Equally important," O'Claray added, "is a statistic that points to the long-term credibility of the NEG program: So far, three-quarters of NEG participants who have left the program­ some 75 percent ­ have already found new employment."

In a news release the Alaska Department of Labor noted that U.S. Senators Ted Stevens and Lisa Murkowski spearheaded the efforts to secure the competitive NEG grant from the U.S. Department of Labor for the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. The NEG retraining program is administered through the department's Alaska Job Center Network,

The initial grant was approved in December 2003. The funding offers hope for fishing crews and families distressed as prices paid for wild Alaska salmon plunged, driven down by market overstocks and slashed prices for industrial salmon produced at foreign fish farms.

To date, slightly less than $2 million of the $8 million has been committed and expended. The program is scheduled to continue through Fiscal Year 2005.

The program provides assistance for commercial salmon fishermen, and crew members, tendermen, cannery workers and family members in some cases.

Assistance includes new career training, job-search assistance and funding for relocations assistance to a permanent job. Funding is also available to help defray transportation and child-care expenses.

Employment Security Division Director Thomas Nelson said the original NEG grant was intended to serve nearly 470 eligible Alaskans. However, the program had enrolled and was assisting 602 participants as of October 26.

Geographically, 153 NEG participants are from Southeast Alaska with 77 from Anchorage-Mat-Su, 15 from Fairbanks and Interior Alaska, 267 from the Kenai Peninsula and Kodiak and 90 from Western Alaska.

NEG participants attend approved training programs through an Individual Training Account. Eligible ITA institutions include:

University of Alaska
Alaska Vocational Institute
Alaska Works Partnership
Alaska Vocational Technical Center
Alaska Joint Electrical Workers
Art Institute of Seattle
Career Academy
Center for Employment Education
Institute of Testing
Geonorth, Pacific Maritime Training Center
NW School of Boat building
Northern Industrial
Paul Hall Training Center for Seafarers Int.
EMI Anchorage
Pan Am Flight Academy
Renton Tech
Vocational Training Resource Center
Take Flight Alaska
Tlingit and Haida Regional Housing Authority
SEA Link
Scottsdale Culinary
Shoreline Community College
Trend Setters'
West Coast Training.

Actual selected occupational choices by the NEG trainees include:

Accountant, airline pilot, architect, auditor, aircraft mechanic, auto mechanic, biologist, boat captain, mate, pilot, bus driver, mechanic; carpenter, chef, clerk, cook, child-care worker, hygienist, detective, electrician, draftsman, electrical repair, civil engineer, mechanical engineer, financial advisor, forestry technician, firefighter, graphic designer; hair stylist, health-care worker, heating and air conditioning mechanic, heavy equipment operator, marketing manager, nurse, nurses aide, office worker, paralegal, pharmacist, planner, plumber, police officer, radiologist technical; secretary, security guard, social worker, tour guide, teacher, travel agent, truck driver and welder.

Source of News:

Alaska Department of Labor & Workforce Development
Web Site



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