Legislation Signed to Improve Alaska’s Education and Workforce Training Efforts
HB 221 Authorizes the Use of a Statistics Program to Identify Gaps in Training Opportunities
ANCHORAGE—Alaska Governor Bill Walker signed legislation sponsored by Representative Harriet Drummond (D-Anchorage) to improve the workforce training programs in Alaska. House Bill 221, which passed the Alaska Legislature with broad bipartisan support, tasks the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education with using a statistics program to gauge the effectiveness of Alaska’s workforce training efforts and to identify coverage gaps.
“To thrive in the new economy workers need modern skills and up to date educational opportunities. By looking at the effectiveness of our workforce training efforts we can make smart changes to tailor those efforts to ensure more Alaskans are successful at finding good paying jobs,” said Rep. Drummond. “The State of Alaska, the University of Alaska, the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, and businesses across the state all have information about the effectiveness of our job training programs, but the data is scattered and disorganized. By collecting the available data under one roof, we can make better decisions about how and where to use our scarce resources so that more Alaskans can benefit from the good paying jobs available in the modern economy.”
HB 221 allows the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education to use a statewide longitudinal data system called the Outcomes Data System through partnerships with the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development, the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, and the University of Alaska.
“The State of Alaska spends over $2 billion a year on K-12, postsecondary, and workforce training but gauging the effectiveness of those efforts is difficult because we don’t have all the data we need. This bill will fix that. I am thankful for the support of my colleagues in making this bill a priority and I look forward to having better statistics to help more Alaskans get the training and skills they need to get good-paying and rewarding jobs,” said Rep. Drummond.
House Bill 221 passed the Alaska House of Representatives in April by a vote of 36-4. The Alaska State Senate passed the bill unanimously in early May. HB 221 was officially signed into law Mondayby Governor Walker during a ceremony in Juneau.