Developing Alaska's Maritime Workforce
Alaska's maritime industry, from its largest cities to smallest villages, represents 70,000 jobs. In fact, studies have shown that Alaska ranks third in the nation per capita for maritime jobs. The waters surrounding Alaska produce 60% of the nation's seafood harvest. Our state is highly dependent on maritime shipping for imports of food and other goods, and for exports of oil, seafood and minerals. Alaska's economy is boosted annually by hundreds of millions of dollars generated from water transport. This includes bringing visitors on cruise ships, running halibut charters, traveling on Alaska's Marine Highway, and supporting subsistence hunting and fishing.
These opportunities require a responsive workforce that enables the maritime sector to remain a substantial contributor to the state. Through the implementation of the Alaska Maritime Workforce Development Plan, Alaska's workforce can be guided to discover and prepare for the wide range of employment opportunities.
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The University of Alaska (UA) has been collaborating with maritime industry representatives, state agencies, legislators and other training entities across the state since 2012 on the Fishing, Seafood and Maritime Initiative (FSMI). The goal of the initiative is to assess, develop and deliver training programs, raise awareness and further research to prepare Alaskans to meet current and emerging workforce, economic and scientific needs. Through this effort, the Alaska Maritime Workforce Development Plan was created and published in May 2014. Since then, UA has been and continues to work with maritime partners across the state to implement the workforce plan.