Nonprofit Organizations Receive More Than $253,000 in Grants to Support Vocational Projects in Alaska

December 21, 2015

The Alaska Community Foundation is pleased to announce grant awards totaling $253,890 to 12 organizations across Alaska. These grants were made through the Vocational Fund for Alaska’s Future (VFAF), a grant program designed to help Alaskans, particularly those in rural Alaska, develop the skills needed to be competitive in the state’s resource-based economy. Applications were encouraged from Alaska nonprofits that focus on natural resource development training and skill-building, with a preference given to projects that benefit rural Alaska.

The projects funded through this first cycle of the Vocational Fund for Alaska’s Future will enable people living in rural communities to develop skills that will help them to meet demands for skilled labor in their region and be better able to support their families – Katie St. John, Director of Programs & Grants at The Alaska Community Foundation.

The Vocational Fund for Alaska’s Future is a Field of Interest fund at ACF established by Rio Tinto to support projects across Alaska that sharpen vocational skills and contribute to the competitiveness of Alaska’s natural resource development and overall economy.

Grant recipients and awards:

Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation – $30,000: The Alaska Fisheries Development, through collaboration with Maritime Works (MW) and the Alaska Process Industry Careers Consortium (APICC), will support programs that target career awareness and readiness.  Additionally, MW & APICC will begin to create a workforce investment strategy, based on the National Fund of Workforce Solutions model.

Alaska Native Justice Center – $8,500: The Alaska Native Justice Center provides an adult re-entry program, providing support and training to Alaska Native and American Indian people to successfully transition from incarceration to being a healthy member of the community.

Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium – $30,000: The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium is collaborating with the Alaska Vocational Technical Center to offer Sanitation Energy Efficiency training for fifteen water plant operators living and working in rural Alaska. With this training, plant operators will learn how to safely and sustainably increase efficiencies in rural communities, with a goal of lowering the cost of these services to local residents.

Alaska Resource Education – $20,000: Alaska Resource Education will develop a 9-12 STEM-focused curriculum on Alaska’s energy and mineral resources and a UA accredited course to provide teachers with the tools to implement that curriculum.

AVTEC – Alaska’s Institute of Technology – $30,000: Technology upgrades will increase AVTEC’s ability to deliver structural and pipe welding training to Alaskans. This technology will increase the number of students who can participate in the training by at least 40% annually.

Bristol Bay Regional CTE Program – $30,000: VFAF funds will support the Lake and Peninsula School District Career and Technical Education program’s offerings of welding, construction, heavy equipment and employability courses.

Lower Yukon School District – $10,000: The Lower Yukon School District (LYSD) will develop and deliver vocational education courses in culinary arts, custodial services/facilities management, and customer service to high school and junior high school students in ten schools throughout the borough.  LYSD will partner with NANA Management Services to complete this training through job shadowing and on-the-job training.  These skills can be applied across sectors and industries for immediate employability.

Prince of Wales Vocational and Technical Education Center – $16,390: The Prince of Wales Vocational and Technical Education Center will host a five day Construction Academy for twelve local residents. The Academy will focus on a combination of basic construction skills along with the soft skills required to help their students succeed across industries.

Renewable Energy Alaska Project – $15,000: REAP will work with industry partners to develop K-12 and post-secondary curricula about clean energy through mapping and integrations of existing programs.

University of Alaska Prince William Sound College $24,000: Prince William Sound College will expand offerings to include hands on training in simple construction, millwright, mineral, oil and gas skills, which can all lead to immediate employability across the state.  These funds will leverage an ongoing Technical Vocational Education Program project at PWSC.

Voyage to Excellence – Chugach School District – $20,000: The Voyage to Excellence School will offer a twelve day training to 24 high school students from around the state centered on career exploration in the natural resource development industries and employability skills.

Yuut Elitnaurviat – The People’s Learning Center, Inc. – $20,000: Ten Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta residents will learn the basics of welding and fabrication through Yuut Elitnaurviat’s project.  In order to learn these hands-on skills, the students will produce a custom trailer for the Lower Kuskokwim School District.