Juneau, Alaska (KINY) Despite budget cuts and declines in student enrollment, University of Alaska Southeast Chancellor Rick Caulfield is bullish about the future.
Enrollment dropped 8% percent at the University this past year to 2,462. That mirrors a decline in student enrollment in Alaska schools. The state has also cut the budget at the University by over 19% in the past four years. Alaska currently ranks 49th in the nation in the rate of ninth grade high school kids that go on to college or some form of post secondary training. The statistics show 24% of those students don't graduate from high school. 13% attend college out of state and 22% attend the University of Alaska system.
Chancellor Rick Caulfield spoke to the Juneau Chamber of commerce luncheon Thursday about building the 21st century workforce. The system goal is to have 65 percent of Alaskans have some form of post secondary training by 2025. Another goal is to produce 90 percent of teachers hired in Alaska by 2025. Currently two out of three teachers hired here are from out of state.
This week they announced a new initiative with the US Coast Guard to increase career opportunities for college students, Caulfield said the College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative, allows students to go to college and still be on active duty with the Coat Guard. He said the program will be a direct route to officer training school for students. "It is demanding. I hope to see a steady stream of UAS students who chose the program."
The Coast Guard will support students with their tuition and books and provide a stipend and even a salary while they attend college classes.
"The Coast Guard is looking for a more diverse work force and more students who know Alaska, know the importance of fisheries to our economy, how important the Coast Guard is to our economy and the safety of our communities."
Caulfield also spoke on a successful fisheries degree program, and stated the Auke Bay Marine Station project is on schedule and
the deal with the city and borough of Juneau should be done by November 1st. The facility will remain in public ownership. The college is also about to close on a deal to sell the college book store building to a private entity.