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Alaska State Chamber of Commerce E-News -May 27, 2010


Alaska Forward Initiative

Alaska's economy is challenged to provide quality jobs for the state's residents, cover the costs of government services, and build the economic infrastructure needed to be globally competitive. With support from the Denali Commission, the Alaska Partnership for Economic Development (APED) has initiated a multi-phase process to analyze the economy, create an economic development strategy and identify action initiatives to address the state's challenges.

This report is a first step in that process. It is a situational analysis that describes and analyzes the current economic development system in Alaska and the state's unique set of economic and business climate factors. Along with a suggested path forward, the report is designed to inform a next phase of collaborative formulation of practical strategic and tactical action initiatives to safeguard the future success of Alaska.

APED is a 501(c)3 umbrella organization consisting of the 12 designated Alaska Regional Development Organizations (ARDORs). APED selected a team to undertake this report consisting of IHS Global Insight (lead consultant), the Economic Competitiveness Group, and Alaska's McDowell Group. The project's steering committee comprised representatives of the ARDORs, as well as representatives of other industry and public sector organizations, such as the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce, the University of Alaska, Western Alaska Community Development Association, Office of the Governor and the Economic Development Administration.

The research for the report was conducted from September to December 2009. The team collected and analyzed existing information and insight, conducted surveys and interviews, presented and discussed preliminary results at conferences, and engaged in a wide variety of discussions with steering committee members and other public sector and business stakeholders.

Here are links to the Alaska Forward Executive Summary and final report of Phase I: Situational Analysis of the Alaska Forward Initiative.

The economic development system in Alaska is largely ineffective both from the perspective of

Alaskans, as well as in comparison to best practices in other jurisdictions. A web survey of 300 business and community leaders showed that 52% of them felt that economic development efforts in Alaska have been ineffective and 61% of them felt that, at best, the outlook for Alaska's economy over the next 10 years is uncertain.

Alaskans should worry not because of any immediate economic crisis, but because of the accumulating levels of future risk and declining economic resiliency associated with:

. Poor relative economic performance compared to the rest of the country

. A high level of dependence on the price of oil, federal government spending, and natural resource industries facing supply or regulatory/legal constraints.

. Weak linkages to rapidly expanding global market opportunities.

. Ignoring opportunities for diversification and inability to optimize the needs and linkages within and among the state's existing portfolio of export-oriented industry "clusters."

. Weak culture of entrepreneurship.

. Sub-par support from the state's economic foundations compared to other peer states in the area of transportation and other infrastructure, quality of workforce/education, and technology.

The path forward involves moving away from competition among industries, regions, and communities. It involves moving towards a more collaborative, statewide approach to economic development that is focused on developing a stronger portfolio of export-oriented industry clusters. The effort should be led by the private sector with support from the public sector. The process should be a broad statewide approach, knowing that a stronger portfolio of industry clusters will benefit all the regions of the state.

To obtain copies of the document or to learn of the presentation schedule on Phase I, please contact:

Marty Metiva, President

Alaska Partnership for Economic Development (APED)



High School Students Encouraged to attend

Alaska Business Week this summer

Alaska Business Week is an exciting and unique weeklong summer program for Alaska high school students brought to Alaska by the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce. Following the curriculum of the long-running Washington Business Week program started in 1976, it provides participants with an intensive week of 'discovery learning' on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus.

The program includes a simulated "corporate" environment replicating some of the challenges and opportunities of life after high school, raising students' awareness of career choices, workplace issues, teamwork, money management, networking and more.

High school students in grade 9-12 are encouraged to apply for the first Alaska Business Week, sponsored by the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce. Applications and more information are available at the Alaska State Chamber website Alaska Business Week.

The camp will be held August 8-14, on the UAF campus, and is open to 100 students from all over Alaska. Over the course of the week, they will have hands-on experience in running a company - mentored by an outstanding group of business people from major companies.

The $325 tuition covers housing, food and program materials. The student will need to cover the cost of the trip Fairbanks. Some financial assistance may be available for students unable to pay for the tuition fees.

Alaska State Chamber and The Foraker Group

Health Insurance Plan

Alaska State Chamber of Commerce members now have an option to purchase a health insurance plan aimed at helping employees live healthier lifestyles. The Alaska State Chamber of Commerce and The Foraker Group have joined forces to offer a program that focuses on helping your employees better manage their health, instead of shifting higher costs to them.

Are you interested in curbing double-digit increases in the health coverage you offer employees? Are you currently unable to offer coverage, but would like to? Do you want o increase your business productivity with a healthier workforce?

Learn more by visiting our website at www.alaskachamber.com

Click here to view the Health Insurance Brochure.

Click here to view The Foraker Group Benefit Plan Broker List.
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