Alaska Voices: Making Alaska’s economy stronger

The Department of Labor and Workforce Development plays a critical role in Alaska’s economy.

  • By Dr. Tamika L. Ledbetter
  • Monday, September 2, 2019 9:52pm
  • Opinion

The Bureau of Economic Analysis in part defines gross domestic product (GDP) as “a comprehensive measure of the economies of each state. GDP estimates the value of the goods and services produced in a state including breakdowns of industry contributions to each state economy.” The U.S. Department of Commerce reports Alaska’s 1st quarter GDP at 3.9%, which is the 6th fastest amongst states across the nation. The determining factors for a strong state economy requires consideration of several indicators. A factor that is often overlooked is how the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development contributes to our strong economy. I believe that the value of Alaska’s goods and services rests upon a quality workforce.

When analyzing the state’s economic growth, it is important to understand how the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DOLWD) plays a critical role in Alaska’s economy. The department’s mission, recent reform efforts, deregulation, and alignment with Governor Michael J. Dunleavy’s, “open for business” formula indeed contribute to economic growth and an increasingly positive economic outlook.

The department’s primary mission is to provide safe and legal working conditions, and to advance opportunities for employment. To achieve our mission, state training and employment program grants are awarded for the purpose of strengthening the local workforce in preparation for good paying jobs in high-growth, high demand industries. As the state’s lead workforce development agency, programs and services are coordinated and rendered in a manner that demonstrates a commitment to meeting the needs of businesses and employers looking for qualified workers.

The department’s comprehensive approach to training and development includes the Workforce Investment Opportunity Act (WIOA). Job training funds and support services are directed to targeted populations to ensure skills-building opportunities for job seekers who are low income, youth ages 14-24, veterans, dislocated workers, reentrants, people living with disabilities, adult basic education deficient, and Native Alaskan/Native Americans.

The strength of the DOLWD is its comprehensive and unified approach when providing seamless services to both employers and job seekers. Every Alaska resident who desires employment, can confidently reach out to the department for assistance focused on career pathways and industry related partnerships, plus job search assistance that leads to viable employment opportunities.

Our future is bright. Through the alignment of services, policy reform and core REACH values (respect, excellence, accountability, competent, honesty) the department has created efficiencies, increased outcomes and redefined how we do business, enhancing our ability to support Alaska’s economy and proudly declare “We are Alaska Strong!”

Dr. Tamika L. Ledbetter is the commissioner of the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Dr. Tamika L. Ledbetter is the commissioner of the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

More in Opinion

The Alaska Capitol on Monday, Jan. 16, 2023, in Juneau, Alaska. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)
Alaska Voices: Legislature deserves credit

A special session shouldn’t have been necessary, but at least it was only one day instead of 30 days.

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Alaska Voices: Please be safe, courteous, and legal as you fish in Alaska this summer

As you head out to hit the water this year, here are a few tips to help you have a safe and citation free season

An observer makes an entry in the Fish Map App on Prince of Wales Island. (Photo by Lee House/courtesy Salmon State)
Alaska Voices: Document Alaska rivers with new fish map app

The app provides a way for everyday Alaskans to document rivers home to wild salmon, whitefish, eulachon and other ocean-going fish — and earn money doing it

(Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Sustainability report is a greenwashing effort

Report leaves out “the not-so-pretty.”

Pictured is an adult Chinook salmon swimming in Ship Creek, Anchorage. (Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Voices of the Peninsula: Proactive measures key to king salmon recovery

I have been sport fishing king salmon along the eastern shores of Cook Inlet and in the Kenai River since 1977

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Honoring the fallen on Memorial Day

As we honor the men and women who fell in service to our nation, we must keep their memories alive through their stories

Shana Loshbaugh (Courtesy photo)
History conference seeking input from peninsula people

The Alaska Historical Society will hold its annual conference on the central peninsula this fall

Coach Dan Gensel (left) prepares to get his ear pierced to celebrate Soldotna High School’s first team-sport state championship on Friday, Febr. 12, 1993 in Soldotna, Alaska. Gensel, who led the Soldotna High School girls basketball team to victory, had promised his team earlier in the season that he would get his ear pierced if they won the state title. (Rusty Swan/Peninsula Clarion)
Remembering my friend, Dan Gensel

It’s a friendship that’s both fixed in time and eternal

(Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: The false gods in America’s gun culture

HB 61 is a solution in search of a problem.

Most Read