This photo shows University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)

This photo shows University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)

Opinion: We can’t run our businesses without the University of Alaska

We rely on UA grads to power our workforce.

  • By Laura Bruce
  • Wednesday, May 19, 2021 5:37pm
  • Opinion

University of Alaska alumni filling positions in local companies is just good business. In my company, Alaska Permanent Capital Management, 60% of our employees attended one or more of our universities in the UA system. Another Alaskan firm, R&M Consultants, recently told me that more than 50 percent of its employees are UA alums. Our companies are not unique. We rely on UA grads to power our workforce.

In fact, Alaskans in the local workforce contribute significantly to our economy, and also to the community. They volunteer their time to aid local causes and serve on the boards of the non-profits that make this a better place to live, work and play. I joined the UA Foundation Board of Directors because I wanted to support the higher education system that fosters these talented educated professionals. Our UA system is an important partner to the many businesses across Alaska that depend on recruiting talent of people who want to continue to make Alaska their home.

I would like to share some amazing things I have learned about the University of Alaska since becoming a board member, and now vice-chair, of the UA Foundation:

— The University of Alaska Anchorage has a new Finance Lab that will combine classroom teaching with real-word financial experiences and collaborations. Opportunities, like the Upstart Internships offered through the University of Alaska Anchorage Business Enterprise Institute, pair entrepreneurial-minded students with local firms. In partnership with this program, APCM offers 3-6 paid internships annually. Importantly, we love bringing on UA students.

— The University of Alaska Fairbanks is the global leader in Arctic Research.

— Through their Finish College Alaska initiative, the University of Alaska Southeast encourages the more than 100,000 Alaskans who have some college credits but no degree to reach for their dreams by providing online degree programs.

— Did you know that if your business or corporation pays taxes in the state of Alaska, there is a credit for investing in the University? Check this out: https://alaska.edu/govrelations/state/aktaxcredit.php.

These great opportunities are setting students up for success in our state. We have all heard about keeping talent in Alaska, but our UA alums typically want to stay in Alaska, and we want them to stay after they earn their university graduation, cross the graduation stage and begin their professional lives.

In supporting the UA system, we are strengthening student success and Alaska’s workforce, contributing to important research for Alaska’s decision makers and businesses and bolstering Alaska’s economy.

Today, the University is striving for stability after recent budget cuts. As Alaskans we

have an opportunity to pledge our support to keep it working For Alaska.

On March 25, the University of Alaska launched the For Alaska philanthropic campaign, which will advance the UA system’s ability to help build a vibrant, bold tomorrow for all Alaskans.

Please join me in supporting our system of higher education in Alaska, which gives so much back to us. Learn more about how you can help here: https://www.universityforalaska.com/

• Laura Bruce is the director of APCM Wealth Management for Individuals at Alaska Permanent Capital Management and is a member of the University of Alaska Foundation Board of Directors.

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