Maritime job training opportunities available

Maritime apprenticeship offers job opportunities

The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development is revitalizing a job training initiative to place Alaskans in credentialed positions in the U.S.-flag commercial maritime fleet.

Alaskans who pass industry and Coast Guard required physicals, drug screenings and background checks will be eligible to enter into a 14-month apprenticeship program to train for credential as a chief cook, FOWT/fireman-oiler-watertender, or able-bodied seafarer. Program participants receive room and board as well as wages while working as an apprentice, and graduates are guaranteed placement into their first job.

“We are committed to helping Alaskans obtain the training they need for rewarding careers,” said Labor Commissioner Heidi Drygas. “This program has a proven record of success in helping Alaskans find work in the maritime industry with good wages and benefits.”

The training will be conducted through the Seafarers International Union affiliated Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training and Education in Piney Point, Md. The Paul Hall Center was established in 1967 and offers the most U.S. Coast Guard approved courses of any maritime school in the nation, and its apprentice program is registered with the U.S. Department of Labor. Apprentices will also have the ability to obtain college credit for successfully completing certain sanctioned courses.

Ralph Mirsky of SeaLink in Ketchikan, Alaska will coordinate the recruitment and screening of Alaskans interested in this program. For more information, contact him at 907-254-1896 or, or visit

Seaton to speak
at chamber lunch

Rep. Paul Seaton will be the guest speaker at the Homer Chamber of Commerce luncheon meeting next week.

The meeting begins at noon Tuesday and will be at the Fresh Sourdough Express.

September’s After-Hours Chamber mixer will be hosted by Sea Glo Spa. It begins at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 22.

For more information, call the chamber at 235-7740.

School district, education
associations to meet

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District and Kenai Education and Kenai Peninsula Education Support associations were scheduled to sit down Wednesday for the first time since Oregon-based Advisory Arbitrator Gary Axon released his report on the ongoing negotiations that began in February 2015.

KPEA President David Brighton said the scheduled topic for discussion at the meeting was to be Axon’s decision.

“We are very hopeful that we can agree to a contract,” he said.

In the 29-page document, published on the school district’s website, Axon’s findings include concessions to all three parties in the two major sticking points of health care and salaries and benefits, as well as eight other minor areas. He suggests the negotiating teams agree to meet in the middle on the per-month, per-employee health care plan costs, and the dispute over adding percentage increases to the salary schedule or offering one-time stipends.

In the document, Axon urges the school district and associations to conclude collective bargaining as quickly as possible as contracts were set to begin July 1, 2015, more than a year ago. His decision is not legally binding.

Wednesday’s collective bargaining session was open to the public, said school district liaison Pegge Erkeneff. She said whatever happens at the meeting will determine the next steps in the process.

Brighton said that could mean anything from reaching an agreement to determining another meeting date.

“Nothing has to happen at this meeting,” he said. “We can keep meeting if we feel like we are making progress toward a contract.”

Once a tentative agreement is reached, the Board of Education must ratify the documents approved by the three negotiating teams.