Announcements and Recognition

Bare branches and brilliant blue. Photo by Monique Musick.

AWIB meets in Fairbanks

The Alaska Workforce Investment Board met on the Fairbanks campus Oct. 24 – 25, 2011 in Room 109 of the Butrovich Building. In addition to Associate Vice President for Workforce Programs Fred Villa, pictured right, the board includes Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Click Bishop, John MacKinnon of the Associated General Contractors of Alaska, and many other representatives of both the public and private sectors. The university's participation in AWIB is one example of numerous public-private partnerships designed to put well-trained Alaskans to work. According to AWIB's website, the vision for the Alaska Workforce Investment Board is “building connections that put Alaskans into good jobs.” UA is proud of its association and partnership with AWIB. For more information about AWIB, visit the website at http://labor.alaska.gov/awib/home.htm.

Private and public business and education leaders met in the Butrovich building during the Alaska Workforce Investment Board meeting Oct. 24-25. Photo by Monique Musick.

Tobacco Surcharge Update

The Joint Health Care Committee last week finalized the guidelines for the tobacco surcharge that will go into effect in July 2012, as well as the form that employees can complete and submit if they do not use tobacco products or are otherwise eligible for a waiver of the charge. 

The tobacco surcharge will be $600 per year, deducted in installments through biweekly paychecks.  The surcharge will be assessed to every employee enrolled in the UA Health Care Plan who does not apply for a waiver. In other words, you must sign the waiver if you don’t use tobacco and want to avoid the charge.

Waiver requests must be submitted either during Open Enrollment or during a later mid-year opportunity for changing status.  Anyone can become eligible to avoid the charge, but you must take active steps to do so. You are entitled to a waiver if you submit a certification form stating that you and any enrolled dependents have been tobacco-free for at least six months, or that you and any enrolled dependents are actively enrolled in a tobacco cessation program.  If you can’t certify one of those statements during Open Enrollment, another opportunity during the month of November 2012 will give you a second chance to have it halted mid-year.  

UA and its employee health care committees will actively communicate this issue from now until the next Open Enrollment (mid-April to mid-May 2012) so that employees have an opportunity to stop using tobacco if they wish to avoid the charge, or to sign up for a tobacco cessation program if they have used tobacco six months prior to filing the form during Open Enrollment. 

Please read more information about UA’s Tobacco Surcharge and available cessation programs on the Benefits website: http://www.alaska.edu/benefits/tobacco-surcharge/

Risk Services to offer safety training sessions

The System Office of Risk Services will be offering Safety Training in the upcoming months of November and December. This training will be offered in two parts. Part 1 will include training on the Emergency Action Plan and Hazard Communication (Awareness Level) and Part 2 will include Ergonomic/Office Safety. Electrical Safety (Non-Qualified) will be coming soon. Class sizes are limited, so register early.

The schedule and registration information will be available the first week of November. The schedule will be sent out by list-serve and/or posted on the Risk Services Website. The first training sessions available begin Nov. 7, 10:15 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:15 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. All are welcome to enroll and participate.

Statewide staff celebrate 2011 Staff Campaign

Statewide staff celebrated the closing of the Statewide Staff Campaign Oct. 3. This year 31 percent of Statewide employees continued to “sow the seeds of promise” for another year.

The campaign repeated this year the focus on fully endowing funds that have been building toward the endowment level. Thanks to the commitment of our generous staff, many funds are a bit closer to that goal, including the Fred Smits MBA Scholarship.

The staff campaign was led by Dory Straight, scholarship officer at the UA Foundation. Campaign cabinet members included Tami Choquette, Karesa Fraser, Linda Hall, Erica Kurowski, James Milburn and Monique Musick.

Kudos to the Government Relations department for another year of 100 percent staff participation. Other departments with higher than 75 percent participation were OIT Application Services, President’s Office, Foundation Accounting and Public Affairs.

At the campaign celebration, Vice President of University Relations and UA Foundation President Carla Beam thanked staff for their participation. Beam shared a story of hearing UA Foundation Trustee Emeritus Grace Berg Schaible, a generous donor to the university, speak on philanthropy years ago. “It was Grace’s passion that ignited a spark in me. She emanated such joy when she talked about giving away money, that it made me want to give more. And now that I’m working for the university, I understand her passion. There are so many important projects that benefit from our personal financial support. It’s great to join Grace and my fellow employees in supporting everything from research and academic excellence to student scholarships.”

Will Finley, Sam Phillips and Collin Lichtenberger each won a UA polar fleece vest. Connie Hooper was the winner of two Alaska Airlines tickets to anywhere the airline travels.

The University of Alaska Foundation is grateful to all staff who joined together for another year to plant the “seeds of promise.”.

UA polar fleece insignia wear and Alaska Airlines tickets were door prizes at the Staff Campaign Wrap-up.

Free foot-traction devices available via Risk Services

Free foot-traction devices are available in all sizes (XS to XXL) for Statewide regular, temporary, part-time and student employees. Stop by and see Jaenell Manchester or Amy O'Sullivan in Suite 001, Butrovich Building, to get your pair today. If you are a Statewide employee located at another University of Alaska campus, free foot-traction devices are available to you from the Risk Services Department at your location.

Last year we had extremely icy conditions for a portion of our winter that resulted in slips and falls, so get your pair early.

The following are some tips for preventing slips and falls this season:

  1. During icy conditions, slow down and plan more time for travel.
  2. Most slips occur when you are in hurry and getting out of your vehicle or upon leaving a building when your feet are warm and a water layer forms under your feet. When getting out of your vehicle, place both feet on the ground before standing or stand outside the building entrance when leaving a building for about ten seconds to allow your shoes to cool down before walking.
  3. Most vehicles are equipped with handholds, which can be used to assist you with exiting your vehicle.
  4. Be sure to remove your foot-traction devices before walking on hard surfaces in buildings as metal spikes on hard dry surfaces can be slippery.
  5. Pay attention to where you walk and avoid slippery areas whenever possible. Do not take short cuts through unmaintained areas even though others may be doing it.
  6. Slippery conditions are most prevalent near dawn and dusk because of re-freezing and sand sinking below the new ice layer so be extra vigilant during those times.

UA Health Link

Keep up-to-date on current wellness benefits and be inspired by healthy lifestyle tips through the UA Health Link. This online newsletter provides monthly updates on IHP programs, wellness breaks, current incentive programs and more. If you missed this month's issue, read it HERE.

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