Training institute grooms future seafood industry leaders

September 11, 2017

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man working in a lab as another looks on Seafood processing workers receive training at the Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center. Photo courtesy of Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center.

Seafood is big business in Alaska. To help boost the industry and its leadership careers, Alaska Sea Grant will offer a training program that starts in November. It’s called the Alaska Seafood Processing Leadership Institute.

In 2015, roughly 60,000 seafood workers in Alaska earned $1.6 billion in labor income. With the “multiplier effect,” seafood generated more than $2 billion in total labor income and nearly $6 billion in total economic activity, according to the McDowell Group.

Fishing and seafood processing is a bedrock industry of Alaska’s coastal economy. It’s also vital to the state’s largest city. Anchorage has more fishing captains than any other community in the state. As of 2015, nearly 2,170 people held commercial fishing permits in Southcentral Alaska, according to the Alaska Department of Labor.

man speaking to students in classroom Leadership trainer Al Bolea of the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Business speaks to students at the 2015 Alaska Seafood Processing Leadership Institute.

As recession-clad Alaska grapples with a multibillion-dollar budget deficit driven by low oil prices, seafood is becoming an even more important industry in the state. To support the state’s seafood workforce, Alaska Sea Grant invites applications for its sixth Alaska Seafood Processing Leadership Institute. The program runs in two parts, Nov. 13–17, 2017, in Kodiak, and March 5–9, 2018, in Anchorage. Most participants will travel to Boston for the Seafood Expo North America, also in March.

The institute provides 80 hours of professional development. It includes the technical training as well as leadership and management skills needed to succeed in the seafood industry. The program is geared for mid-career seafood processing workers seeking to move up the ranks.

Some 70 people have graduated from the institute since its inception in 2006. Many have gone on to high-paying careers as plant managers, quality control supervisors, seafood engineers, and corporate executives.

For more information or to register for the institute, visit the 2017 Alaska Seafood Processing Leadership Institute on the Alaska Sea Grant website. Registration closes on Sept. 30, 2017.

— By Paula Dobbyn

Alaska Sea Grant is a statewide marine research, education, and outreach program, and is a partnership between the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program agents provide assistance that helps Alaskans wisely use, conserve, and enjoy marine and coastal resources.