Legislature(2009 - 2010)HOUSE FINANCE 519

01/27/2010 01:30 PM House FINANCE

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01:35:38 PM Start
01:35:44 PM HB300 || HB302
03:47:19 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
+ Governor's FY11 Budget Overview: TELECONFERENCED
Dept. of Education and Early Development
Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development
HOUSE BILL NO. 300                                                                                                            
     "An Act making appropriations for the operating and loan                                                                   
     program expenses of state government, for certain programs,                                                                
     and to capitalize funds; making supplemental appropriations;                                                               
making appropriations under art.  IX, sec.    17(c),  Constitution                                                              
of the    State of Alaska; and      providing  for  an   effective                                                              
HOUSE BILL NO. 302                                                                                                            
     "An Act making appropriations for the operating and capital                                                                
     expenses of the state's integrated comprehensive mental                                                                    
     health program; and providing for an effective date."                                                                      
1:37:22 PM                                                                                                                    
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION and EARLY DEVELOPMENT                                                                                 
LARRY  LEDOUX, COMMISSIONER,  DEPARTMENT  OF  EDUCATION and  EARLY                                                              
DEVELOPMENT (DEED),  presented his  staff. He highlighted  some of                                                              
the major focuses  and initiatives of the department.  He declared                                                              
that  the department  is moving  toward school  reform to  achieve                                                              
graduation  goals and more  efficiency and  accountability  to the                                                              
state. Commissioner  Ledoux noted that next year  the general fund                                                              
budget  will go  up about  $60 million  in response  to HB273.  He                                                              
added that the  budget includes the continuation  of the preschool                                                              
pilot program  which  is collecting  data with  the goal of  every                                                              
child coming  to school ready to  learn. He furthered that  in the                                                              
budget is the addition of three technical  assistance positions in                                                              
science, reading  and math. He reported that  leadership expertise                                                              
in these areas was lacking statewide.                                                                                           
Co-Chair Hawker  questioned how the  three positions fit  into the                                                              
responsibilities the legislature  has delegated the DEED under the                                                              
Moore vs. State of Alaska suit. Commissioner  Ledoux observed that                                                              
an  identified  concern  was  the   financial  inability  of  some                                                              
districts to provide this expertise.                                                                                            
Co-Chair Hawker alleged that the  legislature is reluctant to grow                                                              
the state's employment base. He asked  if the agency actually does                                                              
not  have  this  expertise  or is  just  looking  to  improve  the                                                              
capacity.  He asked  how vital  the  positions were.  Commissioner                                                              
Ledoux replied that  the positions were vital for  many districts.                                                              
He wanted  to provide leadership  to help change math  and science                                                              
attitudes throughout the state.                                                                                                 
1:45:43 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Hawker asked  what the specialist would do  to change the                                                              
attitudes. Commissioner  Ledoux emphasized that  specialists would                                                              
provide  leadership in  local communities  to identify  curriculum                                                              
and  practices to  improve math  and  science and  then develop  a                                                              
model curriculum.                                                                                                               
Representative  Joule remarked  that  one of  the proposals  being                                                              
considered  is  the  governor's   merit  scholarship  program.  He                                                              
inquired what these positions would  do to help districts meet the                                                              
criteria requirements for the scholarship.                                                                                      
Commissioner Ledoux declared there  would be a connection. The new                                                              
positions would  help small districts develop their  processes and                                                              
programs  to improve  program delivery.  Over  fifty schools  have                                                              
twenty students or less which mean  fewer teachers to teach a wide                                                              
variety of  subjects. There needs  to be improvement  for students                                                              
in  rural Alaska  to  access quality  distance  programs within  a                                                              
stable framework.                                                                                                               
1:50:09 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Austerman  asked how  many schools cannot  meet the                                                              
criteria  for  the  governor's  merit   scholarship.  Commissioner                                                              
Ledoux believed  that all schools  could meet the  program through                                                              
distance delivery  programs. He believed the utilization  of those                                                              
programs   was  limited   by  lack  of   leadership  and   program                                                              
development.   Representative  Austerman   asked   what  kind   of                                                              
Commissioner  Ledoux referred to  that fact  that some  schools or                                                              
districts  can meet the  challenges of  creating good  curriculums                                                              
and others do  not. Representative Austerman asked  if he believed                                                              
there  was a  lack of  leadership in  some schools  or within  the                                                              
DEED.  Commissioner Ledoux  replied  that he  believed his  office                                                              
provided leadership,  but wanted  a good  blueprint that  could be                                                              
followed  when   positions  are   replaced  by  new   individuals.                                                              
Commissioner  Ledoux   defined  leadership  as   planning,  taking                                                              
advantage of available resources, and continuation in the job.                                                                  
Representative  Austerman followed  up with  his concern  that the                                                              
governor's merit program was not fair across the state.                                                                         
Commissioner  Ledoux  agreed  with  the  need  for  more  equality                                                              
throughout the  state.   Although he agreed  it is more  difficult                                                              
for students  in rural Alaska,  he believed these  students needed                                                              
to step  forward. He added that  the leadership problem  often was                                                              
the result  of the  turnover of  teachers and  principals in  many                                                              
1:54:26 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Fairclough  inquired how  the DEED is  working with                                                              
the university  to improve distance learning  opportunities inside                                                              
of individual communities.                                                                                                      
Commissioner  Ledoux responded  that  the federal  government  has                                                              
made millions of dollars available  for broadband connectivity and                                                              
the  DEED has  elected  to work  with  the university  instead  of                                                              
competing with them. He indicated  that there is a shared employee                                                              
who works out  of Anchorage that helps coordinate  applications to                                                              
help increase broadband across the state.                                                                                       
Representative  Fairclough asked  the commissioner  to assure  the                                                              
committee that there  would not be any additional  funding request                                                              
to  align in  the same  community's technology  in the  university                                                              
system and technologies in the school districts.                                                                                
Commissioner Ledoux  responded that  there would be  no additional                                                              
funding request from the DEED. The  technology sharing is becoming                                                              
net friendly.  Representative Fairclough  stated that  some areas,                                                              
such as the Dillingham, struggle with connectivity.                                                                             
1:56:13 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Foster   asked  if  the  DEED   has  assessed  the                                                              
equipment needed  in rural areas  to access the distance  delivery                                                              
programs, especially  those necessary to  meet the equity  for the                                                              
merit scholarship.  Commissioner  Ledoux remarked that  technology                                                              
surveys have  been done, but not  with respect to the  delivery of                                                              
distance  courses. Many  schools are connected  by broadband,  but                                                              
the delivery of  real-time synchronicity with teachers  is limited                                                              
because of the expense.                                                                                                         
Co-Chair  Stoltze  commented  on  Commissioner  Ledoux's  idea  of                                                              
leadership, but  wondered how the government  promotes leadership.                                                              
He asked for further elaboration on this program.                                                                               
1:59:37 PM                                                                                                                    
Commissioner  Ledoux responded that  the intent  would be  to help                                                              
build  the  capacity  of  local  districts  to  manage  and  solve                                                              
problems.  Some districts  do not  have  the capacity  or all  the                                                              
tools  in place  because of  leadership  changes. The  goal is  to                                                              
stabilize  the leadership  and give  the  districts the  necessary                                                              
Representative  Gara asked about  the college  plan. He  agreed it                                                              
was well intentioned, but too much  money was being spent with too                                                              
little results. He noted a university  regent study that estimated                                                              
what would be needed to get youths  into the university's academic                                                              
and job  training program.  The study  estimated that a  statewide                                                              
program  for those  with  financial  difficulties  would cost  the                                                              
state  $5 million  to $7  million.  Representative Gara  contended                                                              
that the  governor's plan  costs $20 million.  He also  noted that                                                              
some of  the money  was being  spent to  send "C" students,  whose                                                              
parents  could afford  the tuition.  He wondered  if this was  the                                                              
best expenditure  of money when there  were other youths  who just                                                              
could  not  afford  to  go  to  the  university.    He  asked  the                                                              
commissioner  to  talk about  the  comparative  costs between  the                                                              
university study and the governor's proposal.                                                                                   
2:02:09 PM                                                                                                                    
Commissioner  Ledoux responded  that he  could not  speak to  that                                                              
individual  study,  but  believed  the governor's  program  was  a                                                              
contract between a student and the  state. The scholarship program                                                              
provides a motivation  for students to work harder.  He added that                                                              
when working with young people there  is a battle of attitudes for                                                              
achievement and  this program was  a contract with a  young person                                                              
to encourage them  to work harder. Commissioner  Ledoux emphasized                                                              
that many  students are limited by  the cost of tuition,  but this                                                              
scholarship would not fully fund  a college education. The goal is                                                              
to  reward  the student  who  takes  on  the  task of  a  rigorous                                                              
curriculum  which  would ensure  greater  success  in college.  He                                                              
mentioned that  with need-based  students, the federal  government                                                              
has  increased  grants  along  with  other  available  grants.  He                                                              
believed  that  parents  and  students  need  to  start  educating                                                              
themselves early about available financial assistance.                                                                          
2:05:35 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Gara  asked if the  state should leverage  whatever                                                              
money  is available.  He wondered  if full  tuition was  available                                                              
under this scholarship plan.                                                                                                    
Commissioner  Ledoux  expounded that  the  current  design of  the                                                              
scholarship money  is to pay  for some of  the expenses  to attend                                                              
college, but not the entire tuition.                                                                                            
Representative  Gara asserted that  many students  do not  have an                                                              
ideal  family  to help  them  get  this financial  or  scholarship                                                              
information. Commissioner  Ledoux agreed  that not everyone  has a                                                              
family  that  provides  this information.  He  believed  that  the                                                              
schools  have not always  communicated with  students and  parents                                                              
about the  opportunities and  decisions that need  to be  made. He                                                              
contended  that  students and  parents  need  to start  forming  a                                                              
school  plan by the  7th grade.  His experience  is that  families                                                              
have dreams for  their children that do not stop  because they are                                                              
financially unable to afford higher education.                                                                                  
2:09:10 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Gara  emphasized  that  there  are  many  children                                                              
without parental support or guidance.                                                                                           
Co-Chair Hawker interjected  that one of the biggest  debates last                                                              
year concerned  federal  stimulus money.  There was great  concern                                                              
that this money not be used to raise  expectations that more money                                                              
would be  provided by  the state once  federal stimulus  money was                                                              
gone. He  asked the commissioner to  report on the success  of the                                                              
department's compliance with this plan.                                                                                         
Commissioner Ledoux  answered that  in the grant  applications for                                                              
the schools it was  made clear that the stimulus  money was a one-                                                              
time grant  and they could not  come back to legislature  for more                                                              
money. He noted  that many districts are using  the stimulus funds                                                              
wisely in  building infrastructure,  consultant hiring,  designing                                                              
curriculum, and  purchasing staff development. He  added that some                                                              
districts  have used  the funds to  hire new  teachers which  will                                                              
require  them  to  reconfigure  their  priorities  to  keep  these                                                              
2:12:42 PM                                                                                                                    
Commissioner Ledoux reported that  the stimulus funds did create a                                                              
number of  jobs in Alaska  and there is the  fear of who  will pay                                                              
for these positions when the funds run out.                                                                                     
Representative  Doogan asked the  commissioner for his  confidence                                                              
level that  if a student  in the 7th  grade elects for  vocational                                                              
education all the necessary courses  to finish school and obtain a                                                              
good job will be there.                                                                                                         
Commissioner Ledoux  stressed that  the earlier the  conversations                                                              
start, the  better it will be  for the students and  parents. Many                                                              
vocational  programs have degraded  from the  1960s. In  the early                                                              
days, Alaska  had some  of the finest  vocational training  in the                                                              
world, but there are fewer career  technical programs today. Money                                                              
was moved out of  career technology and new money  will have to be                                                              
found  to  infuse  in  the  program.   Middle  school  career  and                                                              
technical   education  has   been  removed   from  many   schools.                                                              
Commissioner Ledoux  furthered that in the past,  career education                                                              
and  technical  education  was  translated  as  "work  ready."  He                                                              
relayed that today's  term was "Career Pathways" to  move from the                                                              
high school  to the university for  further in depth  training. He                                                              
added this  only happens in the  larger urban settings  in Alaska.                                                              
He noted that there were a few smaller  communities looking at how                                                              
to  bring   in  students  for   career  technical   training.  The                                                              
Department of Labor & Workforce Development  and the Department of                                                              
Education & Early  Development are working jointly  on this issue.                                                              
Commissioner  Ledoux  indicated  that  the three  big  players  in                                                              
vocational education  are President Hamilton,  Commissioner Bishop                                                              
and  himself. He  believed  if the  conversations  start early  to                                                              
provide  students   the  opportunity  to  engage   in  career  and                                                              
technical programs,  then students will be ready to  pick a career                                                              
and work hard to achieve it.                                                                                                    
2:19:43 PM                                                                                                                    
Commissioner  Ledoux asserted that  if a child  in sixth  grade is                                                              
one grade level  behind in math and reading, has  poor attendance,                                                              
or negative  behavior, then  there is only  a one in  three chance                                                              
that student will graduate.                                                                                                     
2:20:21 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Doogan asked how long  before a student can rely on                                                              
the  K-12 school  system  to prepare  him  or  her for  vocational                                                              
2:21:05 PM                                                                                                                    
Commissioner Ledoux answered that  it has to do with resources. At                                                              
one time  school districts received  extra money for  each student                                                              
enrolled  in  career  and  technical  education.  Also  vocational                                                              
teachers were paid  5 percent more than other  teachers to attract                                                              
them to  the classroom,  but that  money disappeared. The  program                                                              
will  reach  its  goals  faster  if  more  money  is  specifically                                                              
directed  toward quality  career and technical  education  that is                                                              
directly  aligned   to  the  work   force  needs  of   Alaska.  He                                                              
acknowledged  that the  program will  need to  go forward  without                                                              
additional  funding.  There  are  many good  ideas  around  Alaska                                                              
communities, but they are often limited  by the lack of resources.                                                              
2:24:28 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Doogan  voiced  his   concern  about  all  of  the                                                              
proposed $400 million  in the governor's program  going to college                                                              
scholarships.  He wanted  something for  those students  who would                                                              
not be  attending college. He  contended there were  more concrete                                                              
plans  for   students  to  receive   the  scholarship   money  for                                                              
university  education, but  not for  those who  may want to  enter                                                              
vocational school. He  wanted the money to be geared  to those who                                                              
might need it the most.                                                                                                         
2:27:14 PM                                                                                                                    
Commissioner  Ledoux  elaborated  that  one  of  the  problems  in                                                              
education is  there are  so many  different philosophies  on which                                                              
direction should be targeted. School  reform is difficult for this                                                              
reason.  He  believed the  governor's  proposed  scholarship  that                                                              
contains a strong vocational component,  will catalyze development                                                              
and insure  the graduation  goals.   He commented  on the  list of                                                              
priorities   that  the   department   is  actively   working   on,                                                              
"Initiatives   of  Alaska   Department   of   Education  &   Early                                                              
Development" (copy on file). The  development of each one of these                                                              
initiatives  requires money  that  the commissioner  knows is  not                                                              
available.  He reminded  the committee that  10,000 students  pass                                                              
through Alaska's  school system each  year, but he will  not allow                                                              
the lack of money to stop the leadership goals.                                                                                 
2:30:50 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Doogan redefined  his message.  He contended  that                                                              
among the 10,000  students per year, some will go  to college, but                                                              
others will  not. He contended that  Alaska needs to  provide some                                                              
realistic opportunities  for those  students. He declared  that he                                                              
would fight  for a significant  amount of the governor's  proposed                                                              
$20 million  a year  goes to  go to  students who  want to  pursue                                                              
vocational education.                                                                                                           
2:33:24 PM                                                                                                                    
Commissioner  Ledoux agreed  that the  DEED will  not achieve  its                                                              
goals  without  solid  career  and   technical  opportunities  for                                                              
students.  He  added  that  there  is a  part  in  the  governor's                                                              
proposed scholarship for vocational training.                                                                                   
2:34:28 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Hawker stressed  that in his opinion the  only place that                                                              
the  state  puts  money  is  into  vocational  education  programs                                                              
without much care for the state's gifted and talented students.                                                                 
2:35:14 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Stoltze  commented that he hoped the  superintendents and                                                              
school boards  who agreed  to the rules  of the one-time  stimulus                                                              
money would  not come  back to  the legislature  looking for  more                                                              
funds for these  projects. He referred to the  Alaska Constitution                                                              
where it states  that the University of Alaska  should be governed                                                              
by  a  Board  of Regents  to  formulate  policy  and  appoint  the                                                              
president of the university. He viewed  this passage could be read                                                              
broadly. Co-Chair  Stoltze agreed that  60 percent of  students in                                                              
the  Alaska system  were  probably  interested in  the  vocational                                                              
education  program  and a  governor  who showed  leadership  could                                                              
change policy by his appointments  to the school board. He thought                                                              
the university system could do better in this area.                                                                             
2:39:09 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative   Kelly   remarked   that  great   principals   and                                                              
superintendents,   along  with  involved   parents  make   a  huge                                                              
difference  in the school  system. He  believed that  Commissioner                                                              
Ledoux really understands the problems  and stressed he would vote                                                              
to give the commissioner the three  new positions he needs to move                                                              
forward. He declared that the commissioner  was a good man for the                                                              
job  and  agreed  that  the  leadership   of  great  teachers  and                                                              
superintendents will move student performance forward.                                                                          
2:43:05 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair   Hawker   appreciated   the   spirited   discussion   on                                                              
substantive  issues  that  are  eventually  turned  into  numbers.                                                              
Representative  Joule thought  much could  be accomplished  if the                                                              
energy of the people and legislature could be harnessed.                                                                        
Co-Chair Hawker  encouraged the participation in  the subcommittee                                                              
process.  Commissioner  Ledoux  agreed  that  the  questions  were                                                              
helpful   and  he   appreciated  the   committee's  concerns.   He                                                              
emphasized that  there is  progress and good  news in  the system,                                                              
not just problems and challenges.                                                                                               
2:47:33 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Hawker  drew attention to the committee  substitute draft                                                              
for HB300 (FIN). He emphasized that  the committee substitute is a                                                              
zero change  in anything appropriated  in this bill, only  how the                                                              
individual fund  sources are rolled  up. He pointed out  that this                                                              
committee substitute,  along with the original, are  posted on the                                                              
Legislative Finance website for comparison.  He emphasized that it                                                              
all nets to zero.                                                                                                               
Co-Chair Stoltze MOVED  to ADOPT CS for HB  300(FIN) (26-GH2823\S,                                                              
Bailey, 1/26/10)  as a working  document for the  committee. There                                                              
being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                                          
2:49:52 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Hawker explained that the  Mental Health Operating Budget                                                              
reflects  the amount  The  Mental Health  Trust  is providing  and                                                              
being  appropriated  into other  budgets.  This  is still  a  zero                                                              
change document, but  the structure used by the  governor's office                                                              
is different from the one used by the legislature.                                                                              
Co-Chair  Stoltze MOVED  to ADOPT  CS  HB 302(FIN),  (26-GH2825\S,                                                              
Bailey,  1/26/10)  as a  working  document before  the  committee.                                                              
There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                                    
2:51:54 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Kelly  thanked  Co-Chair  Hawker  and  stated  his                                                              
support   for   the   measure,  which   he   believed   puts   the                                                              
administration's  and the  finance committee's  way of  presenting                                                              
things   clearer   to   the  public.   Co-Chair   Hawker   thanked                                                              
Representative  Kelly,   but  gave  credit  to   many  others  who                                                              
facilitated this plan over the years.                                                                                           
2:53:41 PM                                                                                                                    
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR and WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT                                                                                 
CLARK  (CLICK)  BISHOP,  COMMISSIONER,  DEPARTMENT  OF  LABOR  AND                                                              
WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT,  introduced several  members of  his staff.                                                              
He indicated that the department budget request is $195 million                                                                 
Commissioner Bishop  indicated the good working  relationship with                                                              
Commissioner  Ledoux  and  the University.  He  agreed  that  many                                                              
school  districts  are meeting  the  challenge  of career  pathway                                                              
alignment, but some schools need  help. He acknowledged that there                                                              
were students graduating who did  not have all the necessary skill                                                              
needed.  He  supported a  good  career  pathway plan  between  the                                                              
Department  of  Education and  Early  Development  (DEED) and  the                                                              
Department  of Labor  & Workforce  Development  (DLWD) that  could                                                              
continue even with administration or teacher turnovers.                                                                         
3:00:15 PM                                                                                                                    
Commissioner Bishop  acknowledged schools with good  plans existed                                                              
throughout the  state. He  believed it important  to build  on the                                                              
good work he  has seen in some  districts. He referred  to the gas                                                              
line training  program as helping  to close  the gap and  move the                                                              
workforce  forward.  There  have  been  113  identified  gas  line                                                              
related  occupations. He  noted many  positions  were included  in                                                              
this plan including  caterers and geologists.  Commissioner Bishop                                                              
reported he had named a pipeline  administrator to oversee the gas                                                              
line training  plan. The public will  have the opportunity  to see                                                              
the  manpower  numbers  soon.  He   furthered  that  the  work  to                                                              
determine the  costs associated with  gas line training  will move                                                              
forward. He  emphasized that  this training was  not just  for the                                                              
gas  pipeline,  but  future  jobs   in  Alaska.  He  talked  about                                                              
developing a  core drilling program  for mineral  exploration. The                                                              
Department   of  Labor   developed  the   first  ever   registered                                                              
apprenticeship  core  drilling program  in  the  United States  or                                                              
Canada. Thirty six entry level Alaskan  core drillers were trained                                                              
for resource  based work; now ready  to begin the second  round of                                                              
3:07:10 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative   Austerman   referred   to  the   Alaska   Gasline                                                              
Inducement Act  (AGIA) work  plan and noted  this training  is not                                                              
just for  the gas pipeline  and asked  for further information  on                                                              
how this training applies to other occupations.                                                                                 
3:08:11 PM                                                                                                                    
Commissioner  Bishop  remarked that  the  AIGA  training plan  can                                                              
transform from  occupation to occupation.  He mentioned  two other                                                              
occupations  have used  this plan;  the health  care industry  and                                                              
green  jobs occupations.  He  acknowledged it  does  not meet  all                                                              
occupations,  but  a  good  framework   for  many.  Representative                                                              
Austerman maintained that he wanted  to make sure the training was                                                              
not  just  limited   to  pipeline  jobs,  but   other  occupations                                                              
necessary for Alaska's future.                                                                                                  
3:10:15 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Salmon  asked what project  was being worked  on in                                                              
the Tower Hill area north of Fairbanks.                                                                                         
DAVID  STONE,   DEPUTY  COMMISSIONER,  DEPARTMENT   OF  LABOR  AND                                                              
WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT, responded the Livengood Gold project.                                                                    
Co-Chair Hawker  remarked that  there is a  lot of strategic  work                                                              
within the department, but also workforce  development schools for                                                              
actual  training.  Co-Chair Hawker  wondered  if  all the  state's                                                              
schools should  be placed  under the DEED  with the DLWD  focusing                                                              
primarily on strategy and workplace management.                                                                                 
3:12:43 PM                                                                                                                    
Commissioner  Bishop responded  that he  liked the idea.  Co-Chair                                                              
Hawker asked what would be the advantages.                                                                                      
Commissioner Bishop remarked he would  like further discussions on                                                              
the subject. One  of the things necessary in the  training plan is                                                              
coordination  from K-12  through  regional  training centers.  The                                                              
Department  of  Labor  has  been  coordinating  regional  training                                                              
centers throughout the state for the past three years.                                                                          
3:15:00 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Hawker  voiced that he was  looking at the future  of the                                                              
state  and  what would  be  in  Alaska's  best interest.  He  just                                                              
wondered if there is a better way of doing things.                                                                              
Commissioner  Bishop  reiterated  that he  would  welcome  further                                                              
discussions. He  indicated his support  for higher  education, but                                                              
the  statistics  state  that  23 percent  of  Alaska  high  school                                                              
graduates  successfully   enter  college   and  70  percent   need                                                              
vocational training.                                                                                                            
3:17:20 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Gara  remarked about  the difficulty in  seeing the                                                              
unified picture of what is being  done and where the gaps might be                                                              
because everything  is spread through many  different departments.                                                              
He wondered  if there was  a listing somewhere  of where  the gaps                                                              
are in vocational training.                                                                                                     
Commissioner Bishop  indicated that through the  gas line training                                                              
program he  wanted to achieve alignment  to work together  for the                                                              
common goal. He hoped that after  five years of training people in                                                              
the state could see how it could  work to become the benchmark for                                                              
the future.  He remarked that many  people come to  his department                                                              
with  different   requests  and  his   goal  was  to   bring  some                                                              
coordination to vocational training.                                                                                            
3:20:36 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Gara  understood  that  a training  plan  to  meet                                                              
everyone's  needs would  be impossible  to fund.  He realized  the                                                              
department  brings budget  requests for  what can be  accomplished                                                              
today, but  the committee  often cannot see  where money  might be                                                              
needed in the  future. He requested more information  about future                                                              
Commissioner Bishop agreed and remarked  he would love to sit down                                                              
with Commission Ledoux to discuss this matter.                                                                                  
Commissioner Bishop concluded that  getting out information on the                                                              
opportunities and  services available to  the people in  the state                                                              
is  important.   He  wanted  make   sure  that  schools   get  the                                                              
information out to the students in the rural districts.                                                                         
3:24:12 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Salmon asked the commissioner  how the programs are                                                              
tied with the very small rural communities.                                                                                     
Commissioner  Bishop  replied  that  it  was a  hard  question  to                                                              
answer. He  suggested sitting  down to  have a comprehensive  talk                                                              
with him at another time.                                                                                                       
Co-Chair  Hawker  interjected that  a  document  summary would  be                                                              
helpful to distribute to the committee.                                                                                         
3:25:56 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Kelly  noted that  the  commissioner  is a  strong                                                              
proponent for  the Western Access  Corridor and he was  pleased to                                                              
see that the governor has added some  additional funding. He added                                                              
that a person without a job is often a person lost.                                                                             
3:26:53 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Hawker had  a  technical concern  about  the budget.  He                                                              
noted that  the department  runs  on many separate  funds and  was                                                              
concerned about the sustainability  rate for spending out of these                                                              
funds.  He believed  there was  a  need to  look at  all the  fund                                                              
groups available to this department.                                                                                            
3:28:45 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Austerman  asked about  the  unemployment rate  in                                                              
Alaska  for  the   past  few  years  and  the   projected  trends.                                                              
Commissioner Bishop  answered that Alaska's unemployment  story is                                                              
a success story.  Alaska paid out $274 million  in unemployment in                                                              
1009;  $83 million  in  federal funds  for  extended benefits.  He                                                              
referred to  the multi-colored  U.S. map  graph, UI Fund  Solvency                                                              
Measure-January 21,  2010 (copy on file). He remarked  that Alaska                                                              
is one of three states where the  employee is taxed as well as the                                                              
employer.  Only  two states  are  funded, Alaska  and  Washington.                                                              
Alaska is  at 8.8 percent  unemployment rate.  His goal is  not to                                                              
make double digit unemployment.                                                                                                 
Representative Austerman asked for any future projections.                                                                      
Commissioner  Bishop forecasted  a trend  down of  1400 jobs  this                                                              
season, but  not as  bad as the  2400 lost  last year.  The Health                                                              
Care  industry is  looking to  add 500  jobs. He  reported he  was                                                              
optimistic about the future.                                                                                                    
3:32:46 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative   Salmon   responded    that   there   is   greater                                                              
unemployment in rural Alaska and  wondered if the commissioner had                                                              
any  statistics.  Commissioner  Bishop  replied  he  will  provide                                                              
updated unemployment statistics by region to the committee.                                                                     
3:33:32 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Fairclough reported  that the forecast for Alaska's                                                              
population  is just under  700,000. She  believed forecasting  low                                                              
unemployment may cause more people  from the outside to migrate to                                                              
Alaska  who  may not  completely  understand  the full  costs  and                                                              
challenges of residing here.                                                                                                    
3:36:44 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Foster thanked  Commissioner Bishop  for the  help                                                              
with rural Alaska and vocational  education. He asked about health                                                              
care jobs in rural Alaska.                                                                                                      
Commissioner Bishop responded that  he has not been to a community                                                              
yet that does not have openings in  health care. He mentioned that                                                              
in Representative  Foster's region  there are potentially  100 new                                                              
positions  available.  He  observed   that  there  are  some  real                                                              
opportunities for  young people who want  to work and stay  in the                                                              
rural area.                                                                                                                     
3:39:27 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative   Joule   extended    his   appreciation   to   the                                                              
commissioner for being  aware and supporting efforts  of the group                                                              
in the Northwest  Arctic magnet school. The school  board has been                                                              
working  towards  a  paradigm  shift  regarding  health  care  and                                                              
education  positions.  Often when  a  position  requires a  higher                                                              
degree  of  education  those positions  are  often  imported  from                                                              
outside. The focus  of the magnet school is to take  the idea of a                                                              
boarding school and focus training  in the three specific areas of                                                              
health, education, and mining occupations.                                                                                      
3:43:01 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Doogan  believed Commissioner Ledoux  is doing what                                                              
the department needs  to be done. He noted his  continuing concern                                                              
that whatever  is done with  vocational education  be accomplished                                                              
within the best financial plan and little duplication.                                                                          
3:45:09 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Hawker reiterated that one  of greatest challenges in the                                                              
state  is  building  replacement  workers. Many  Alaska  jobs  are                                                              
filled by outside  workers and it is in Alaska's  best interest to                                                              
train replacement employees from the local communities.                                                                         
Commissioner Bishop  indicated that he was available  to meet with                                                              
any legislator to answer any questions or clarify any subject.                                                                  
3:47:19 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Gara   agreed  that  Commissioner   Ledoux  has  a                                                              
proposal to get something done this year.                                                                                       
Representative  Austerman  maintained that  the  problem today  in                                                              
training  people  from local  communities  is that  before  Alaska                                                              
became a  modern state people  in the local communities  performed                                                              
the  jobs. Now  there are  so many  regulations  and standards  of                                                              
qualifications it has become more of a challenge.                                                                               

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Labor Overview 10 Year Proj.pdf HFIN 1/27/2010 1:30:00 PM
10 Yr Plan Assumptions 1-22-10DEED Overview.docx HFIN 1/27/2010 1:30:00 PM
Initiatives summary Jan 2010 (2)DEED Overview.doc HFIN 1/27/2010 1:30:00 PM
FY11 EED Governor's Budget Overview.pdf HFIN 1/27/2010 1:30:00 PM
Dept LaborOverview Legislative Presentation.pdf HFIN 1/27/2010 1:30:00 PM
10 Yr Plan Graph DEED Overview.xls HFIN 1/27/2010 1:30:00 PM
UI Fund SolvencyDOL Overview.pdf HFIN 1/27/2010 1:30:00 PM
EED Overview ARRA Funding Summary2.xlsx HFIN 1/27/2010 1:30:00 PM
HB302 CS DRAFT version S 01262010.pdf HFIN 1/27/2010 1:30:00 PM
HB 302
HB 300 CS DRAFT version S 012610.pdf HFIN 1/27/2010 1:30:00 PM
HB 300