New workforce development program coming to the Kenai Peninsula

The Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District is creating a workforce training program for peninsula residents.

Tim Dillon is the executive director of the economic development district, and he said it’s critical for young residents to learn basic job skills and explore different trades.

“Carpentry 101,” he said. “Tool Safety.  Basics of, so how do you interact with other folks, when you’re working, when you have a boss. What’s the interpersonal dynamics with that if you’ve never had a boss. Just a variety of different things.”

Right now, the district is still figuring out the details of what the program will offer and exactly what it will look like. The development district is collaborating with the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, Kenai Peninsula College, Alaska’s Institute of Technology and multiple others to find out what’s most needed.

Recent high school graduates in Seldovia will likely have the first chance to take part in a training.  

“Our goal then would be to go from there and if things work out well, to go over by the Kenai/Soldotna area over to the Challenger Center,” he said. “You can put 30 some folks into the Challenger Center because they also have dormitories right there.”

Dillon said the federal government, Denali commission and Kenai Peninsula Borough all provided funds for this new venture. He hopes it will be free or close to free for participants.

And he said the program could grow into something for all ages.

“My guess is we’ll be talking about developing this program for probably the next three to five years, and I think that’s really important for people to know that none of this stuff is just a flip of a switch and it’s all there,” he said. 

Dillon said the first class could start as soon as next summer.