Job training options abound for Kenai Peninsula job seekers

  • Monday, February 23, 2015 1:50pm
  • Business

As industries grow on the Kenai Peninsula, job-training options are becoming more abundant.

To help meet the needs of employers, the state of Alaska, as well as several institutes on the Kenai Peninsula are available to help guide, train and produce qualified employees.

The success of the various programs is evident in not only how quickly workers are placed, but also how lucrative the positions are.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that many of Alaska’s most lucrative jobs are in the oil and gas industry.

According to the state of Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development website, one of Alaska’s highest paying jobs is that of a petroleum engineer. On average, they make $13,362 a month. The website not only provides wage information, it provides details about various programs and courses available throughout Alaska to help job seekers become qualified in the field. The website is not only limited to petroleum engineers, career information is available for scores of professions. The site provides information about a course length, cost and durations.

At Kenai Peninsula College, Suzie Kendrick, advancements program manager, said the college has faculty counselors who are available to do both general and specific advising.

One of the popular degrees Kendrick cited was process technology.

According to the KPC website, the entry-level salary for workers with a process technology degree ranges from $45,000 to $100,000 a year. Approximately 90 percent of students who complete the degree are currently working in the field, according to the website.

Other professions on the peninsula are also highly paid. On average, occupational health and safety specialists earn $6,143 a month. KPC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree for occupational safety and health. The course can be completed online.

With Soldotna becoming the epicenter for health care on the peninsula, KPC has helped by producing qualified nurses. Currently, KPC offers an associate of applied science RN degree, while UAA offers a four-year Bachelor of Science RN degree.

“We can’t pump out enough nurses to meet the need in the state of Alaska,” said Kendrick.

A resident nurse in Alaska has a monthly wage of $6,970. The state’s website projects high growth and demand for the qualified RNs.

“We have some very awesome programs that will put people to work in a short time,” Kendrick said.

In Seward, AVTEC, Alaska’s Institute of Technology, offers vocational training for students who want to find work quickly.

Courses at AVTEC include welding, diesel and heavy equipment technologies, and maritime training.

Ben Eveland, director of AVTEC, said that many of the programs produce highly skilled workers in a short amount of time.

“(AVTEC offers) a career in a year,” Eveland said.

Eveland said that because the class sizes are capped at 14, students get high-quality training. He said many graduates make $100,000 a year soon after getting hired.

Eveland said that because AVTEC only offers classes for in-demand professions, most graduates have no trouble finding work.

“Almost all of them are getting work in their field,” Eveland said. “The placement is about 90 percentin their field.”

The cost of the courses is also affordable. Eveland said that because the state subsidizes tuition, nearly all courses cost $2,700.

“It’s dirt cheap,” Eveland said.

Reach Ian Foley at