Alaska Sea Grant develops high-demand training for the seafood processing workforce
Over 60% of the seafood produced in the US comes from waters off of Alaska. The seafood processing workforce in Alaska is approximately 25,000, but there are few opportunities for professional development and technical training available in the state. The industry worked closely with the University of Alaska to develop the Alaska Maritime Workforce Development Plan outlining high demand occupations that need workers. A trained workforce is critical to a strong economy in Alaska.
Alaska Sea Grant developed a suite of seafood processing classes that support industry identified, high demand occupations, leading to advancement of employees and support for this strong economic input. Building on years of service as the HACCP instructor in the state, Alaska Sea Grant expanded its seafood processing training options over the last two years. They now include training in seafood processing plant leadership, quality control manager training, sanitation, permitting, smoking seafood and processing roe. Classes have been developed as intensive and non-credit, providing a certificate upon completion.
This year, 130 individuals were trained in 8 classes taught in Kodiak, Anchorage, Unalaska and Sitka. New classes were developed in Seafood Environmental Compliance and Microbiology. The 5th Alaska Seafood Processing Leadership Institute was offered, with 18 people from 10 companies across the state. Classes were taught in Unalaska/Dutch Harbor for the first time by Kodiak-based instructor. Most classes were full or over capacity. Funding support came from industry fees and University vocational funds leveraged by Sea Grant funds.
Alaska Sea Grant responded to industry demand to expand seafood processing training program for professional development and to support Alaska’s economy.