Federal grant will expand health care, aviation training

A competitive federal grant for $1,019,985 awarded to the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development will help finance training of more Alaskans for careers in the health care and aviation industries.

The training will utilize Registered Apprenticeships, employer driven workforce development programs that combine structured on the job training with technical classroom instruction, said Alaska Labor Commissioner Heidi Drygas.

Registered Apprenticeships supported by the grant include community health worker, medical administrative assistant, clinical medical assistant, medical biller/coder, commercial pilot, airframe and power plant mechanic, and aircraft dispatcher. The apprenticeships will be accessible statewide, with strong participation from air carriers and primary care clinics serving rural villages and hub communities, in addition to urban centers of the state.

“Registered Apprenticeship programs directly contribute to higher rates of Alaska hire and lower rates of unemployment by increasing the supply of trained workers,” Drygas said. Members of the Alaska Primary Care Association and Alaska Air Carriers Association have stepped up to expand training and job opportunities in those sectors for Alaskans, she said.

The grant represents the most recent milestone in a comprehensive state effort to expand apprenticeships and increase Alaska hire. The state has already re-established Alaska hire requirements, expanded apprenticeship utilization targets for state-funded projects, and obtained federal funds to help health care providers form a multi-employer sponsor of health care apprenticeships.