Donation to support successful UAS Pathways to Mining Career program
By SHEVONDA BURKHART
Staff Writer, UAS Whalesong
A major local employer, Hecla Mining Company, is helping channel UAS students into local jobs by donating $300,000 to UAS’s Pathways to Mining Careers program.
The donation was given Sept. 1 at a Juneau Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
Providing educational opportunities for mining is important since mining is a major employer for the state. The Alaska mining industry provided 4,400 mining jobs in 2014, according to McDowell Group, Inc.
Hecla Mining Company is owner to the Greens Creek Mine on Admiralty Island, which is largest Southeast Alaska for-profit employer in terms of payroll, according to the State of Alaska Labor and Workforce Development.
University of Alaska Southeast Provost Dr. Karen Carey says that the mining program helps students ranging from high school to adults receive training to pursue a mining career.
“The money goes to pay for the faculty members who teach the course and funding for the students so that the students are able to be enrolled in these classes,” she said.
Manager of Government and Community Relations Mike Satre said that their intent is to give all Southeast Alaska high school students the opportunity to learn about career options in mining.
“The introduction to mining occupations and operations course allows students of all backgrounds to figure out if a mining career is right for them,” Satre said.
The Pathways to Mining Careers program broken into is 5 steps. The first tier of the program is the Intro to Mining Careers and Occupations course at UAS, which is available to high school juniors and above.
After completion of the 3 credit course students can enroll in 2 the week Mine Academy. The Academy allows students to receive hands on training with mining equipment in a virtual training simulator and take field trips to the CMT underground mine lab. After completion of the Academy students receive Mine Safety and Health Administration training, a federally recognized certification.
The next step in the process is job shadowing. Students can shadow an employee in a variety of fields at the Greens Creek Mine.
“UAS is the natural partner to invest in given our location in Southeast Alaska,” Satre said.
“They have proven ability to deliver curriculum throughout the state and we are happy to help them continue to build their capacity to train a local workforce.”