The following article by L.A. Holmes Workforce Development Coordinator was featured in the Summer Edition of The Reference Point, ABYC's quarterly publication.
Distance Education Kodiak Style
Kodiak College, a community campus of the University of Alaska Anchorage, is a member of the Marine League of Schools that is taking an active role in implementing The Alaska Maritime Workforce development Plan. Located on Kodiak Island in the Gulf of Alaska, in a town that is one of the top fishing ports in the nation, Kodiak College serves catch vessels owners and crews by offering short workshops on relevant topics of vessel repair, which students can attend between fishing runs. Three of the five instructors at Kodiak College are ABYC Master Technicians. Now more than ever the local industry is talking about quality repairs and ABYC standards. Educational institutions in other towns are catching the enthusiasm and promoting ABYC standards in classes offered to their regional fleets and service providers.
What do you do when roughly half of your student base lives in remote villages across
the 150-mile Kodiak Archipelago that are reachable only by airplane or boat? You charter
an airplane or boat and take the training session to the village! This is how Kodiak
College’s Maritime Workforce Development
Department addresses the challenge of delivering short, focused, vessel repair and maintenance workshops in remote villages located on an archipelago in the Gulf of Alaska. Kodiak College’s workshops cater to individuals already involved in the maritime industry either directly by commercial fishing and vessel ownership, or indirectly with subsistence lifestyles. Keeping your boat and motor in good working condition is critical to earning a living and feeding your family in these parts whether your livelihood is commercially based or subsistence based.
Everyone in this island group has more than a casual interest in keeping their boats running and rural residents tend to use their boats the way town people use cars – everyday, all the time. Kodiak College welcomes the mission of making sure all regional vessel users have access to the maritime workshops and official standards of repair. How do they make such an idea “fly” when the students are so spread out?
Here are some tips we have used for success:
• Buy a dozen totes for each workshop you want to share.
• Get to know the local plane chartering operations.
• Build a spreadsheet to help calculate break-even points.
• Create alliances with organizations that can assist with costs or tuition support.
• Be good to the adjunct instructors who will be making the trip!
• Make the training student based – let them focus on what they know they need.
• Develop friendships in the villages.
• Welcome the diversity challenges.
• Finally, load the totes in the plane with the adjunct instructor and fly!