Dream Big Alaska
Courtesy of DiscoverE Leadership Council/See the full 2017 Engineers Poster at DiscoverE.org
February is a great month in Alaska, the days start getting longer, the session in Juneau gets into full swing, and Engineers Week encourages students to consider engineering as a profession. Engineers across the state, the nation, and the world deliver the DiscoverE message to Dream Big during Engineers Week, Girl Day, Global Day, and in its Future City competition. The organization proclaims that it is “a catalyst for growth in volunteer engagement and networks across the globe.”
DiscoverE is the “most popular source for engineering workforce outreach. And growing.” Results from 2016 show a 10 percent increase in page views on DiscoverE.org from FY-14-15 to FY 15-16 with more than 2 million views, plus more than 1.3 million users sought career related content—a 13 percent increase. On twitter, #eweek2016 was used in more than 24,000 tweets by more than 6,500 contributors, an increase of 280 percent in tweets and 44 percent in contributors.
Even more impressive is the work the organization is doing to get girls interested in engineering. “DiscoverE is driving conversation and connecting engineering voices to amplify the critical messages,” they say. The numbers are telling: 1.39 billion impressions in media engagement in 2016—that’s 160 million more than in 2015. If you’re an engineer get involved if you aren’t already. Volunteer at a school, the organization found that 94 percent of DiscoverE educators believe having an engineer in the room is a good use of class time.
Speaking of engineering, it’s a lot about solving problems. Take the state’s fiscal plan, it needs some serious engineering. So much so that a sustainable fiscal plan and the budget are overwhelmingly named as the top legislative priorities for the 30th Legislature, which was days away from gaveling in at press time for the February issue of Alaska Business Monthly. Here are a few legislative priorities we found:
- Alaska Chamber of Commerce: Support reduction of spending to sustainable levels
- Anchorage Chamber of Commerce: Develop and implement a sustainable fiscal plan
- Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce: Support a comprehensive, long-term sustainable fiscal plan
- Alaska Conference of Mayors: Legislative Adoption of a Sustainable Budget Plan
- Alaska Power Association: The 2017 Legislature must address Alaska’s fiscal shortfall
- Resource Development Council: Advocate to limit unrestricted general fund (UGF)* spending to sustainable level of $4.1 billion or less. *UGF includes: Operating budget, capital budget, statewide obligations, but does not include deferral of liabilities.
February will be a telling month for action by the Legislature on state finances. Let’s hope the entire session doesn’t become another Groundhog Day when it comes to solving the state’s financial problems. These legislators need to be architects of success by engineering sustainable spending—they need to Dream Big.
We’ve shared some big dreams in the February issue of Alaska Business Monthly. Enjoy!
—Susan Harrington, Managing Editor
This article first appeared in the February 2017 print edition of Alaska Business Monthly.