When the State of Alaska leased tracts of land at Prudhoe Bay for oil field development in the spring of 1969, Governor Bill Egan set in motion the development of a school, “to train Alaskans for the jobs that are coming to the State.” The State Department of Education hired five people to begin organizing an adult vocational training center. Originally named the Alaska Skill Center, the school began with just a few programs aimed at serving the growing oil industry. Seward, Alaska became the location of the new trade school after the new governor Keith Miller made a trip to Seward where Willard Dunham, a longtime resident of Seward and voracious advocate for job creation, lobbied the state to take advantage of cheap real estate after the 1964 earthquake and tsunami.
The next 12 years marked rapid growth with the Alaska Skill Center, becoming the Alaska Vocational Technical Center (AVTEC), and the school expanding to offer 8 professional programs.
Today, AVTEC is still the only statewide post-secondary vocational training center operated by the State of Alaska; and strives to provide students with career-focused training that can be applied in the modern Alaska workforce. Integrated with industry-standard technology, software, and equipment, students gain real-world, hands-on experience. AVTEC now offers 10 professional programs, with curriculum that is designed to meet the specific needs of employers throughout Alaska. Prospective students can choose from career training programs in the growing fields of maritime, business, information technology, culinary arts, and select trade careers.
AVTEC boasts a 90 percent employment rate in training related jobs and offers career resource counseling to help students find a job after graduation. Professional programs range in length from six weeks to 11 months. While at AVTEC, students have access to supplementary foundational classes in reading, writing, and math; counseling and career counseling services, and tutoring. Unlike a traditional college, AVTEC students attend classes six hours a day, five days a week. Programs are shorter than a traditional university and offer students the convenience of gaining the skills and training needed to find employment in their chosen field quickly.
To celebrate 50 years of training Alaskans, AVTEC will be hosting a weekend of events on September 27-29, 2019. Events include a building dedication for Willard E. Dunham Hall on Friday, September 27; a campus tour and Student Excellence Dinner prepared by the AVTEC Culinary Arts staff and students on Saturday, September 28; and an Alumni Brunch on Sunday, September 29. For more information about the 50th Anniversary Celebration, to rsvp, or to buy tickets to the Student Excellence Dinner visit https://mailchi.mp/avtec/avtec-50th-anniversary or contact email@example.com.
For more information on AVTEC programs or to schedule a tour, visit www.avtec.edu or call 800-478-5389.
Written by Roz Kirkelie, AVTEC Publication Specialist