U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, this week sent a letter to the five largest oil and gas producers in Alaska, raising concerns about the rising percentage of workers from outside of the state and requesting ideas to increase the number and share of Alaskans who work in the industry.
“Consistent with my previous requests over the past years, I ask that you provide up-to-date information on your companies’ employment of Alaska residents, including data for your contractors and subcontractors. In addition, I ask that you provide any information or suggestions that your companies, contractors, and subcontractors may have on in-state workforce development and training.”
Murkowski’s letter references the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s recent 2016 Nonresidents Working in Alaska Report, which found a large decrease in the overall number of workers in the oil and gas industry. While new development opportunities in federal areas could soon help reverse that decline, the report also found a substantial increase in the percentage of non-resident workers, from 28.1 percent in 2009 to 37.1 percent.
Murkowski also noted Alaska’s workforce training programs and asked what more could be done to ensure the oil and gas industry hires more Alaskans for open positions.
“I have taken full advantage of the opportunity to visit the many career and technical colleges for workforce training programs across the state. I see firsthand the many talented and skilled Alaskans we train each year. What more can we do to build a well-qualified Alaska workforce for the oil and gas industry?”Murkowski is chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. A copy of her letter can be found here.