AVTEC, the state’s vocational and technical school with campuses in Seward and Anchorage, will be losing programs due to the budget ax. AVTEC’s three allied health programs will be eliminated by the end of this year, according to Paloma Harbour, administrative services division director with the state Department of Labor and Workforce development.
“As a part of the governor’s endorsed budget, all agencies were asked to contribute to the reduction because of the revenue shortfall for the state. Our departments contribution was overall an eight percent reduction to the department, so it wasn’t just AVTEC. AVTEC’s share of the reduction was just over $450,000 in state funds alone.”
Harbour says allied health program cuts will save the other AVTEC programs.
“The choice wasn’t made lightly, but because it was one of the most expensive programs, based on statutory requirements on instructors to students and other expenses related to the program, it was the one they could cut to meet their target reductions. If they were to cut other programs, they would have had to cut multiple other programs. ”
Harbour says board of nursing requirements make hiring multiple instructors a necessity for the health programs.
AVTEC has three nursing programs. The registered nursing program is coming to an end in July, anyway, because it has lost federal funding. Two other programs, licensed practical nurse and nursing assistant, will end in November because of the state cuts.
AVTEC’s three allied health programs combined serve about 140 students a year. Harbour says the school partners with Cook Inlet Tribal Council on funding for the registered nurse program, and it is possible that that could continue if AVTEC can find alternate funding sources for its share of the costs.
“One of the things that AVTEC’s looking into right now, is the Cook Inlet Tribal Council, who is the partner that was helping to supply federal funds to support the registered nurse program, they are looking to again apply for federal funds, and if they are successful, they want to continue some partnership.”
Currently enrolled students in the nursing assistant and licensed practical nurse classes will be able to finish classes before the closures go into effect.