Non-resident hire continues to increase

The number of non-residents working on Alaska’s North Slope continues to increase, according to state Labor Commissioner Dianne Blumer.

She told the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee yesterday (Tuesday) that training programs are in place for Alaska hire, but a forthcoming report shows more workers hired from outside the state.

Blumer said an update on nonresidents working in Alaska is due out Thursday.  It tracks the percentage of nonresident workers in Alaska by industry, occupation, and geographic area.

The annual resident-hire report showed nearly 31 percent of workers in Alaska oil and gas industry came from outside the state in 2010.  It showed the percentage of nonresident workers in the oil and gas industry has historically been higher than the statewide average for all industries.

The Senate Labor and Commerce hearing was the first in the confirmation process for Blumer, who was appointed by the governor in May to replace Click Bishop, when he resigned to run for the Senate.

Many of the questions focused on Alaska hire, especially the North Slope.  Blumer said the Alaska Workforce Investment Board has developed an oil and gas pipeline plan and believes the petroleum industry will provide a lot of future employment opportunity in Alaska.

“We’ve identified 113 occupational job classes that would be needed if and when – I would like to say when – pipeline construction occurs.  So any company that comes and has a program that would meet any of those 113 occupational codes, we work with them to get people either in on the job training, registered apprenticeships, or just training programs,” shd said.

Blumer has worked 22 years in state service, in the Transportation and Administration departments as well as the governor’s office.  She’s a former director of the state Division of Personnel and has been a negotiator for the state in public employee union contract agreements.

The Senate Labor and Commerce Committee recommended Blumer be confirmed.  That must be taken up by the full legislature.

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