Legislature(2005 - 2006)BELTZ 211

03/28/2006 01:30 PM LABOR & COMMERCE


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ SB 241 JOINT INSURANCE ARRANGEMENTS TELECONFERENCED
Scheduled But Not Heard
*+ SB 309 CONSTR. TRAINING GRANT;UNEMPLOYMENT COMP. TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ Confirmation of Governor's Appointees: TELECONFERENCED
<Teleconference Listen Only>
Board of Barbers and Hairdressers -
Cody Downs,Charlette Lushin,Alice Massie
Real Estate Appraisers -
William Larick
Alaska Workers Compensation Board -
Robert Morigeau, Debra Norum,
Jeffrey Pruss, H. Bardie Scarbrough,
Damian Thomas, Robert Weel
Alaska Labor Relations Agency -
Dennis Niedermeyer
Board of Marine Pilots -
Les Cronk
Personnel Board -
Alfred Tamagni, Sr.
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
Including But Not Limited to:
+= SB 307 LANDLORD REMEDIES; LATE FEE TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+= SB 300 MOTOR VEHICLE NEGATIVE EQUITY TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSSB 300(L&C) Out of Committee
        SB 309-CONSTR. TRAINING GRANT;UNEMPLOYMENT COMP.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CON BUNDE announced SB 309 to be up for consideration.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GENE THERRIAULT,  sponsor of SB 309,  said the Department                                                               
of  Labor requested  a committee  substitute  that would  correct                                                               
some technical issues.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR RALPH SEEKINS moved to adopt  CSSB 309, version I, as the                                                               
working  document.  There  were  no  objections  and  it  was  so                                                               
ordered.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GENE THERRIAULT  explained that language on  page 2, line                                                               
1, "The  amount collected  in this subsection  is in  addition to                                                               
the amount collected  under AS 23.15.835" was  deleted because it                                                               
was  unnecessary. "Interest  and penalties"  was also  deleted on                                                               
the same page and a reference to paragraph (a) was added.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
He made the following comments:                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     This  legislation responds  to an  upcoming opportunity                                                                    
     to  train residents  to fill  thousands of  high-paying                                                                    
     jobs that would  be created in the  construction of the                                                                    
     gas pipeline  and other  growing construction  needs by                                                                    
     providing  a  stable  stream   of  revenue  subject  to                                                                    
     legislative   appropriation   to   the   Alaska   Works                                                                    
     Partnership  Inc.  for  both  training  and  increasing                                                                    
     capacity of training facilities....                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     In  2005  there  were   more  than  20,000  individuals                                                                    
     employed in the Alaska  construction trades with annual                                                                    
     incomes  approaching $60,000  each. Unfortunately,  one                                                                    
     in  every five  jobs or  20 percent  of those  being to                                                                    
     individuals  who,  according   to  the  Permanent  Fund                                                                    
     Dividend eligibility information,  were recent arrivals                                                                    
     to the  State of Alaska  or temporary residents  of the                                                                    
     state. Also, with 45 percent  of our resident workforce                                                                    
     being over 45 years of  age, the industry must start to                                                                    
     renew  its workforce  with  thousands of  appropriately                                                                    
     trained  workers. Without  action  on  our part,  these                                                                    
     high-paying jobs will continue  to attract workers from                                                                    
     other  states and  other  countries.  The Alaska  Works                                                                    
     Partnership is a  non-profit organization whose mission                                                                    
     is  to  increase  resident  hire  in  the  construction                                                                    
     trades.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     The  funding  proposed  in   this  bill  will  leverage                                                                    
     industry   investment   in  training   facilities   and                                                                    
     equipment  to build  private  sector training  capacity                                                                    
     and   increase  industry   capability  for   sustaining                                                                    
     training into the  future. More that 90  percent of the                                                                    
     workers that  Alaska Works  Partnership trains  are not                                                                    
     members of  a union. The  majority of the  workers that                                                                    
     Alaska Works Partnership places in  jobs go to work for                                                                    
     non-union employers.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     The legislation  is intended to  divert one-tenth  of 1                                                                    
     percent of the current  employee contributions to a new                                                                    
     holding  account for  appropriation  each  year by  the                                                                    
     Legislature.  The estimated  income of  the account  is                                                                    
     projected  to  be roughly  $5  million  per year.  With                                                                    
     increased payroll  within the state, the  Department of                                                                    
     Labor  has projected  that it  is highly  unlikely that                                                                    
     this small percentage diversion  will cause an increase                                                                    
     in the  overall unemployment  rates that  are insurance                                                                    
     rates. As  we grow the  base, the 1 percent  should not                                                                    
     trigger any change in the  rates that are charged. This                                                                    
     legislation  is  slated  to sunset  in  six  years  and                                                                    
     requires annual reporting on performance standards.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     As  we  work  through  the  committee  process,  I  ask                                                                    
     members to  consider placing a priority  on training of                                                                    
     resident Alaskans  to get  the benefit  from increasing                                                                    
     heavy   construction,  highway   construction,  general                                                                    
     construction  and  certainly  construction  that  would                                                                    
     take place on  the oil line. In addition,  I believe we                                                                    
     want to certainly  be taking a longer look  not at just                                                                    
     the  construction  jobs  associated  with  taking  that                                                                    
     resource  to  market, but  also  the  legacy jobs  that                                                                    
        would be left over in operating and maintaining                                                                         
     facilities....                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:18:22 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  THERRIAULT  related  that   part  of  the  problem  with                                                               
training workers is that employers  are needed who are willing to                                                               
take on the new trainee and pair  him with a journeyman - and the                                                               
salary  has to  be  paid.  He said  the  committee  might hear  a                                                               
suggestion  that if  there is  some  way to  assist employers  in                                                               
actually bringing  in the trainee  and getting them up  to speed,                                                               
that might be a component  of the overall training mechanism that                                                               
is  missing  right  now  -  especially  if  construction  of  the                                                               
pipeline ramps up.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:19:35 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  BUNDE heard  concerns that  SB 309  is aimed  at filtering                                                               
workers into union jobs.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT  responded that  there is no  requirement that                                                               
trainees be in a union and it was not his intent to do so.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:21:35 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BUNDE  asked why the  tax is  placed on the  employee only,                                                               
since both employers and employees would benefit.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT  replied that that concept  is patterned after                                                               
revenue generating mechanism  that is used to  fund existing STEP                                                               
and University programs,  as well as others. He  just copied what                                                               
was already in state law.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:23:03 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER  GREG O'CLARAY,  Department of  Labor and  Workforce                                                               
Development (DOLWD),  testified that  90 percent Alaska  hire was                                                               
one of  the Governor's goals  across the board in  all industries                                                               
in Alaska. However,  the only statutory authority  that exists to                                                               
require that is in public  construction. He is just below meeting                                                               
that  standard  on  a  consistent basis,  but  he  admitted  that                                                               
construction  workers  would  always   have  to  be  imported  if                                                               
approaches like Senator Therriault's were not adopted.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
He  said  that the  existing  STEP  program cannot  shoulder  the                                                               
entire  burden of  training  Alaska's  construction workforce  to                                                               
meet  industry demands  over  the  next six  years  and still  be                                                               
poised  to  capture a  majority  of  the  pipeline jobs  if  that                                                               
project goes forward. Enormous number  of people will be required                                                               
to build the pipeline - 400  - 500 pipefitters and welders, 1,900                                                               
- 2,300 equipment  operators, 2,000 - 2,500  truck drivers, 1,200                                                               
-   1,600  laborers   including  welders   helpers,  400   -  500                                                               
supervisory  positions  and  another  900  -  1,000  construction                                                               
inspectors, camp  employees and catering  personnel, electricians                                                               
and ironworkers - for a total of 6,900 - 8,600 workers.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
The  Department and  the construction  industry  spent two  years                                                               
examining and  developing a  construction plan  to deal  with the                                                               
workforce  needs of  Alaska's construction  industry.  A copy  of                                                               
that report was provided to  the members. He reiterated that this                                                               
particular bill would enable the state to meet that demand.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:26:41 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER  O'CLARAY  said that  this  year  the Department  is                                                               
initiating a pilot project with  the Anchorage school district to                                                               
train  100  -  200  construction  workers  that  will  enter  the                                                               
residential construction  field, primarily as  homebuilders. This                                                               
approach  has a  lot of  support  and requires  about $1  million                                                               
initially. This funding stream would  meet some of those needs in                                                               
addition to upgrading capacity for training workers.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
He said  the reason he supports  this bill and the  use of Alaska                                                               
Works Partnership  as the  main vehicle  for training  workers is                                                               
because  it  already  does  the  best job;  it  has  the  highest                                                               
performance  of every  grantee on  a consistent  basis. Graduates                                                               
from  those  training  programs  are placed  between  88  and  90                                                               
percent in almost every field of endeavor.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:28:15 PM                                                                                                                    
Only  two  states  tax  workers for  a  portion  of  unemployment                                                               
insurance benefits,  Alaska and  New Jersey,  and this  is proper                                                               
use of  that money. It  reduces unemployment and  increases their                                                               
earning power by moving them up the ladder.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:28:47 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  BUNDE asked  his thoughts  on recruiting  people for  this                                                               
training asking:                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     We  have the  demand from  the employer  side. Are  you                                                                    
     aware if there is a  demand from the potential employee                                                                    
     side? When we make  these services available, are young                                                                    
     people going to take advantage of them?                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER O'CLARAY replied that  he has had conversations with                                                               
a  lot of  young people,  educators and  parents. This  year with                                                               
some federal grant money, the  Department initiated career guides                                                               
into K12 schools who would  help young people make career choices                                                               
working with  their hands. This  is having  "tremendous success."                                                               
He said that  when kids leave school the most  important thing is                                                               
to have a good work ethic.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:31:09 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BUNDE  asked if he anticipated  TAPS closed-shop attitudes,                                                               
primarily in welding, for the building of the gas pipeline.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:31:37 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER  O'CLARAY  said he  has  seen  the language  in  the                                                               
current gas line contract and he  believed it is better than what                                                               
was in the TAPS agreement. Alaskans  are poised to at least get a                                                               
first shot at the jobs.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:32:02 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR SEEKINS asked where all those people would come from.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  O'CLARAY  replied  primarily out  of  Alaska's  K12                                                               
systems -  maybe those who  are dropping  out of high  school and                                                               
from  rural Alaska.  That  is the  largest  concentration of  new                                                               
workers.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS  asked if he anticipated  recruitment from people                                                               
who are already in the work force.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER O'CLARAY  replied, "Absolutely."  The last  study he                                                               
saw  said  that young  people  nowadays  change careers  over  10                                                               
times.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS said there was  a terrible strain on employers to                                                               
fill the positions  created when their workers go to  work on the                                                               
pipeline  and  he asked  what  was  being  thought of  for  those                                                               
employers.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER O'CLARAY replied that  his overall strategy has been                                                               
to  do  both.  That  is  why creating  this  new  funding  stream                                                               
focusing on construction would free  up additional investments he                                                               
is now using in the STEP  program to train replacement workers to                                                               
fill  the vacuum  of other  types of  classifications across  the                                                               
board.  There would  be  a gradual  build up  over  the next  six                                                               
years, which  he thought would stem  the flow of the  vacuum that                                                               
be created in  resident workers as it was during  building of the                                                               
TAPS.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:34:22 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR THERRIAULT asked  how small employers could  be helped to                                                               
pick up paying  the extra salary, because that seemed  to be part                                                               
of the bottleneck now.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  O'CLARAY replied  that,  while successful  programs                                                               
exist, employers  and contractors  needed to  make more  room for                                                               
apprentices. The  construction trades  have already  moved toward                                                               
doubling the number  of apprentices that they  interview and take                                                               
in  to their  various programs  to meet  the ongoing  demand. The                                                               
construction industry seldom uses wage.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:36:56 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR SEEKINS said  he was surprised to find that  35 years old                                                               
the average hiring age for a  teacher in Fairbanks. He asked what                                                               
age group would be attracted to this type of training program.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  O'CLARAY  said  he  would  provide  him  with  that                                                               
information,  but wanted  to  make a  last  point. The  employers                                                               
working with  the STEP program  and the Alaska Works  Program are                                                               
providing  a tremendous  match in  dollars to  their grants.  For                                                               
example, the Alaska Joint  Electrical Apprenticeship and Training                                                               
Trust received  a STEP grant in  2005 of $191,000; its  match was                                                               
$490,300.  The  Laborers  Training  Trust  received  a  grant  of                                                               
$292,000; its match as $538,000.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:39:23 PM                                                                                                                    
MICHAEL  SEXTON, Executive  Director,  Mechanical Contractors  of                                                               
Fairbanks  and Mechanical  Contractors  of  Alaska, supported  SB
309. He said that training is  the key to being successful in any                                                               
industry. Good paying jobs and training  go hand in hand and good                                                               
pay is essential for keeping young people in Alaska.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:41:07 PM                                                                                                                    
JIM LAITI, Business Manager, Plumbers  and Pipefitters Local 375,                                                               
Fairbanks, said he  also sits on the  Workforce Investment Board.                                                               
He  supported  SB 309  saying  that  apprenticeships provide  the                                                               
direct linkage  to on-the-job experience.  He encouraged  them to                                                               
support the programs that work and are already in place.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:42:55 PM                                                                                                                    
MAX MIELKE,  Business Manager, Plumbers  and Pipefitters  - Local                                                               
262, Juneau,  supported SB 309. He  said it is a  fact that union                                                               
construction  training  programs  are unsurpassed  and  some  are                                                               
considered  the best  in the  world. His  contractors are  on the                                                               
leading edge  of new  technology and innovative  ways to  get the                                                               
job done right and on time.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MIELKE related  how Local  262  saved every  penny it  could                                                               
until  2003 with  the anticipation  of  some day  having its  own                                                               
training center. Before that, apprentices  were always sent north                                                               
to either  Anchorage or  Fairbanks for  training. In  2003, Local                                                               
262 purchased  a 6,000 ft.  office and training facility  and now                                                               
has  a fully  furnished state  of the  art training  center. More                                                               
could be  done with more funding.  He said that each  member pays                                                               
$1.40 per hour  for training. He said the Juneau  shop could be a                                                               
hub to serve Southeast Alaska.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:45:22 PM                                                                                                                    
BRET HELMS,  Training Director,  Plumbers and  Pipefitters, Local                                                               
375,  Fairbanks,  supported SB  309  and  said that  he  strongly                                                               
supported  the   training  provided  by  jointly   managed  trade                                                               
apprenticeships. They provide  a majority of the  training in the                                                               
construction trade  industry. He  said he  expects to  enroll 150                                                               
more  apprentices in  his  program  over the  next  six years  to                                                               
supply the increased demand from  its contractors. The Department                                                               
of  Labor  and  Workforce  Development   projects  a  17  percent                                                               
increase  by 2012  in the  plumbing and  pipefitting field.  This                                                               
increase  would only  supply the  current industry  and does  not                                                               
reflect  the  future  gas  line.  Local  375's  current  training                                                               
facility has  two classrooms and a  small shop area, but  it will                                                               
not be adequate for its future training demands.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MIKE  ANDREWS, Director,  Alaska  Works  Partnership Inc.  (AWP),                                                               
supported SB  309 and talked  further about the  extreme shortage                                                               
of  Alaskan  workers.  State  figures  show  20,000  construction                                                               
workers averaged  about $59,000  in wages  last year.  Those same                                                               
figures predict a shortage of at  least 1,000 workers to fill new                                                               
jobs.  If that  threshold goes  up  to 90  percent, Alaska  needs                                                               
another 2,000  workers. Replacing  retiring workers  will require                                                               
another 7,000 to  8,000 workers - just to have  a stable resident                                                               
construction workforce before consideration of a pipeline.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. ANDREWS said that training  and placement services are needed                                                               
especially in  rural Alaska  and that's one  of the  main reasons                                                               
Alaska  Works  Partnership,  Inc.  was formed  in  1986.  It  was                                                               
designed  to   connect  all  trade   unions  and   their  jointly                                                               
administered  apprenticeship training  programs  into one  system                                                               
that  would  reached  out  across   Alaska  regardless  of  union                                                               
affiliation  or  membership.  Its   programs  have  been  proving                                                               
effective in moving resident Alaskans  into construction jobs. In                                                               
the  past  five  years  it  has  helped  1,000  residents  become                                                               
employed in construction - with a 68 percent retention rate.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:51:57 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  ANDREWS  said AWP  had  developed  the Rural  Apprenticeship                                                               
Outreach  Program, a  women operating  in the  trades program,  a                                                               
building maintenance repair program,  helmets to hardhats program                                                               
and  pipeline  training  in Fairbanks  that  trains  hundreds  of                                                               
people every year.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. ANDREWS  explained that the  reason the  jointly administered                                                               
programs   are  effective   is   because  they   have  21   trade                                                               
apprenticeship  programs, 1,600  apprentices that  are registered                                                               
with  the federal  government today  or about  80 percent  of the                                                               
trade apprentices in the State  of Alaska. They have doubled that                                                               
in the  last five  years. A 2005  capacity survey  indicated that                                                               
workers  and employers  contributed over  $9 million  to industry                                                               
training through  their trust funds.  He said that some  of their                                                               
trainees end up in a union, but that is their choice.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
He  recapped that  this  year AWP  has  125 building  maintenance                                                               
repair apprentices  building affordable  housing in  rural Alaska                                                               
and  it trained  over 100  persons for  the Alaska  Native Tribal                                                               
Health Consortium on Force Account  projects building clinics and                                                               
village safe  water projects  in rural Alaska.  It will  help 120                                                               
high  school  youth through  its  construction  academies and  he                                                               
anticipates helping 70  veterans and 70 rural  apprentices to get                                                               
employment this year.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:54:33 PM                                                                                                                    
Regarding  Senator  Seekins'  question  about  demographics,  Mr.                                                               
Andrews said  that primarily the age  group of 22 to  24 years is                                                               
really interested  in construction.  However, younger  people are                                                               
becoming interested because of the  opportunities that are coming                                                               
up  and  the  high  wages.  They  also  never  knew  about  these                                                               
opportunities, which are not mentioned in the high schools.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
An apprentice is hired for about  half of the going rate. As they                                                               
advance  they  get paid  more.  However,  there are  job-training                                                               
programs that will subsidize the worker's  wages if they are in a                                                               
registered  apprenticeship  program.  AWP connects  its  trainees                                                               
with 780  employers who contribute  to the programs and  who hire                                                               
apprentices. They are  not asking for any  incentives even though                                                               
they are available.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:57:37 PM                                                                                                                    
JOHN BITNEY, Alaska State  Homebuilders Association, supported SB
309. He said  there is a need  for these types of  workers in the                                                               
residential construction  industry today. His  organization found                                                               
it could  place 90 people on  job sites during a  very short time                                                               
period. So, he didn't anticipate needing a wage subsidy.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:59:29 PM                                                                                                                    
MIKE   GALLAGHAR,  Business   Manager  and   Secretary/Treasurer,                                                               
Laborers Local  341, said  he is  also a  trustee for  the Alaska                                                               
Laborers  Training and  Apprenticeship Program.  He supported  SB
309. In  2005 Local 341  trained over 2,000  construction workers                                                               
and  new apprentices  and upgraded  journeyman  skills. It  spent                                                               
$1.25 million  on training and  this year it expects  to increase                                                               
funding  by  25  percent.  This is  money  coming  directly  from                                                               
employer  and   employee  contributions.  Local  341   trains  in                                                               
Anchorage,  Fairbanks,  Valdez,   Southeast  Alaska,  Kodiak  and                                                               
Kenai.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:00:55 PM                                                                                                                    
REBECCA LOGAN, President, Associated  Builders and Contractors of                                                               
Alaska, supported the  intent behind SB 309, but  didn't like the                                                               
way it  disbursed training  funds. The  first reason  she opposed                                                               
the disbursement method  is because it puts money  into the hands                                                               
of trainers,  which at  first glance appears  to be  a reasonable                                                               
place to deposit  training funds. But the real  resolution to the                                                               
problem  of a  huge skilled  labor shortage  in the  construction                                                               
industry  is  apprenticeship.  Apprenticeship is  a  relationship                                                               
between  the  apprentice,  the  employer  and  the  trainer.  She                                                               
explained further:                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     In that relationship,  it is the employer  and only the                                                                    
     employer who  has the ability  to increase  the numbers                                                                    
     of people  being trained. If  employers don't  agree to                                                                    
     hire apprentices,  new workers will not  be trained and                                                                    
     yet every plan put forth  to address this issue ignores                                                                    
     the employers or worse. At  the beginning of this year,                                                                    
     Governor Murkowski signed  an administrative order that                                                                    
     attempted to  require employers to hire  apprentices on                                                                    
     state  jobs.   On  the  recommendation  of   the  State                                                                    
     Attorney  General,  the  language  was  toned  down  to                                                                    
     suggest that they hire apprentices.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Why   not  give   employers   an   incentive  to   hire                                                                    
     apprentices? Employers  lose money when they  commit to                                                                    
     hire  an apprentice.  They take  on a  new person  with                                                                    
     little  or  no  skill  and begin  to  train  them.  The                                                                    
     production from the apprentice is  low and in addition,                                                                    
     a journeyman is used  to instruct the apprentice, which                                                                    
     can  result  in  less production  from  an  experienced                                                                    
     worker  as they  take on  the roll  of trainer.  As the                                                                    
     apprentice  progresses, this  changes, but  the initial                                                                    
     investment  is a  loss for  the employer.  If we  truly                                                                    
     want to  address the skilled  labor shortage  in Alaska                                                                    
     by  increasing  the  number  of  apprentices,  we  must                                                                    
     encourage  more  employers  to hire  apprentices.  This                                                                    
     grant  could  be used  as  a  financial incentive  that                                                                    
     would  lead  more  employers   to  become  involved  in                                                                    
     apprentice training.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     I  appreciate   what  Mike   Andrews  said   about  the                                                                    
     incentive  already existing  in that  when you  hire an                                                                    
     apprentice, they  are paid a  lower wage. That  has not                                                                    
     done it. Employers are still  not willing to take on an                                                                    
     apprentice. I  would guess that the  unions would agree                                                                    
     with that as  they are the ones who  requested from the                                                                    
     Governor,  the administrative  order  to  try to  force                                                                    
     people to  take apprentices on.  The lower wage  is not                                                                    
     enough  to   incentivize  employers   to  take   on  an                                                                    
     apprentice.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS.  LOGAN said  the second  problem  she saw  with the  proposed                                                               
distribution  method   through  the   Department  of   Labor  and                                                               
Workforce Development to  the Alaska Works Partnership  is that a                                                               
non-profit  agency  represents  the building  construction  trade                                                               
unions  and their  federally registered  apprenticeship programs.                                                               
But, Bureau of  Labor statistics from 2005 indicate  that only 30                                                               
percent  of Alaska's  construction workforce  was represented  by                                                               
organized labor.  She asked, "Are  we really going to  take money                                                               
for Alaska's workers,  most of whom do not belong  to a union and                                                               
give  those  funds  to  a non-profit  that  only  supports  union                                                               
training programs?"                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS.  LOGAN said  that Mr.  Andrews  also mentioned  that most  of                                                               
their training  is of non-union  workers and she  agreed, because                                                               
he  doesn't run  an  apprenticeship program,  but  rather a  pre-                                                               
apprenticeship training  program whose people are  steered toward                                                               
the  unions. Last  year her  apprenticeship program  received 800                                                               
applications   and  not   one  of   them  came   from  the   pre-                                                               
apprenticeship program that AWP ran. Further she said:                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     As recently  as 10 days  ago, the Alaska  Works website                                                                    
     listed  communities  in  Alaska   and  the  numbers  of                                                                    
     workers available  in those communities. The  same page                                                                    
     indicated  that only  employers  signatory  to a  union                                                                    
     could  access  those  workers.   That  page  no  longer                                                                    
     appears on  the website, but  I'm quite sure  that that                                                                    
     philosophy has not disappeared.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Limiting training funds to such  a group greatly limits                                                                    
     the number  of people  who can be  trained for  jobs in                                                                    
     the industry  and again  be trained  for apprenticeship                                                                    
     jobs  in the  industry. And  it's not  the best  use of                                                                    
     training funds.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     It   is  also   discriminatory   legislation  and   not                                                                    
     responsible  legislation. I  strongly suggest  that you                                                                    
     amend SB 309 to put  training resources in the hands of                                                                    
     those who  can actually  increase the number  of people                                                                    
     that are  being trained  through apprentice  programs -                                                                    
     the employers. I  would also suggest that  you amend SB
     309 to insure  that any funds taken for  this grant are                                                                    
     distributed  equally  between  the union  and  nonunion                                                                    
     workforce.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:05:58 PM                                                                                                                    
CLICK  BISHOP,   Apprenticeship  Coordinator,   Alaska  Operating                                                               
Engineers Training  Trust, supported  SB 309.  He related  how he                                                               
met  with  the  Governor  and industry  people  last  year  about                                                               
manpower needs  in the  state. At  that time,  BP rolled  out its                                                               
needs for  the pipeline to  be 600  side boom operators.  He said                                                               
that's too  big a bite  for any one entity  to take on  by itself                                                               
and  he thought  industry, labor  and government  should come  up                                                               
with a way to do it together.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
He  related  how he  went  to  Caterpillar's proving  grounds  in                                                               
Tucson a week  ago to preview and operate the  next generation of                                                               
pipe  layers.  Over  100 other  contractor  representatives  were                                                               
there from  the Lower  48 and other  countries around  the globe.                                                               
The main  consensus of that  group was  that there is  not enough                                                               
skilled  people and  not  enough  equipment. At  the  end of  the                                                               
demonstration,  a  Caterpillar  representative asked  him  if  he                                                               
could help with pipeline training. He concluded that:                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     It's the  prudent thing  to do for  us to  step forward                                                                    
     here with  SB 309 -  all of us here  at the table  - to                                                                    
     move forward  to meet the  needs in the  upcoming years                                                                    
     for the shortage of skilled workers.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. BISHOP related  that he has an average of  500 people pick up                                                               
applications every year  - about 260 come  back completed. "We've                                                               
got the people here. We just need to train 'em."                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHARLES JURGENS, District  7 Representative, Operating Engineers,                                                               
Fairbanks, said he was also  a trustee of the Operating Engineers                                                               
and Employers Training Trust. He supported SB 309.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
BOB  MORIGEAU, Operating  Engineers  Local  302, Fairbanks,  also                                                               
supported SB 309. He said, "This  is something that is needed for                                                               
all classes of the trades."  He especially supported Commissioner                                                               
O'Claray's commitment to 90 percent  Alaska hire. He also thanked                                                               
Governor  Murkowski for  signing  Administrative  Order 226  that                                                               
required  15 percent  of heavy  equipment hours  be performed  by                                                               
registered  apprentices  or  trainees.  He related  that  he  has                                                               
approximately 150  apprentices in his program  in Alaska. Between                                                               
Alaska  and Washington  the number  is  at 300.  Thirty to  forty                                                               
trainees  are  presently  being  trained  at  its  apprenticeship                                                               
school  in  Palmer and  the  school  has  an abundant  amount  of                                                               
applicants every  year. Unfortunately, many  of those have  to be                                                               
turned away because  they don't have the positions  to fill every                                                               
year. Training is  only half of the problem; putting  them on the                                                               
job so that  they are not sitting at home  after being trained is                                                               
the other half of it.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT  asked if he  was turning away people  for his                                                               
apprenticeship program.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. MORIGEAU  replied that  Local 302 only  trains the  number of                                                               
people it thinks it can put to work.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
3:16:00 PM                                                                                                                    
VINCE  BELTRAMI,   Statewide  Training  Director,   Alaska  Joint                                                               
Electrical Apprenticeship  and Training  Trust, said  his program                                                               
is a joint  labor/management trust and is one of  the largest and                                                               
most successful  training programs in  the state and  has existed                                                               
since  the  mid-1950s.  It  enjoys   a  better  than  90  percent                                                               
completion record  and is  a 100  percent Alaska  hire operation.                                                               
The  Trust  has  over  400   apprentices  registered  in  various                                                               
classifications of  the electrical industry from  electricians to                                                               
power  linemen,   telecommunications  workers  and   power  plant                                                               
operators.    In addition,  it trained over 800  in journey-level                                                               
upgrade  classes last  year. More  that  100 employers  statewide                                                               
contributed nearly $2 million last year to its program.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. BELTRAMI  explained that its apprentices  receive 8,000 hours                                                               
of on-the-job  training and a  minimum of  280 hours per  year of                                                               
instructor-lead  curriculum.  The   teachers  are  journey  level                                                               
workers who  regularly attend annual  training at  the University                                                               
of Tennessee.  Many have several  years of  management experience                                                               
in  the  trade.  The  Trust  has  two  state-of-the-art  training                                                               
facilities in  Anchorage and Fairbanks. It  invested $2.3 million                                                               
to construct a new training facility  in Anchorage in 2000 and is                                                               
doubling the Fairbanks facility -  all without any public funding                                                               
assistance.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
He supported  SB 309 because  it would  insure that the  Trust is                                                               
better able  to serve  the needs  of the  state by  expanding its                                                               
ability to  train even more workers  to be prepared to  deal with                                                               
the increased  construction activity in  the state as well  as to                                                               
further augment an aging construction workforce.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. BELTRAMI said  if there were any amendments to  this bill, he                                                               
would like to see distribution of  funds not be based on union or                                                               
nonunion status,  but on measured performance  and the investment                                                               
that has been made in the industry.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:19:12 PM                                                                                                                    
DAVE McCLURE, Executive Director,  Bristol Bay Housing Authority,                                                               
said he  is also Chairman of  the Board for the  Southwest Alaska                                                               
Voc-Ed Center that is located on  the King Salmon Air Force Base.                                                               
He totally  supported SB 309.  His partnership with  Alaska Works                                                               
is strong  and the  training has  provided opportunities  to over                                                               
100 individuals to move out  of the economically troubled fishery                                                               
to  new employment  opportunities  statewide.  He mentioned  that                                                               
Bristol Bay is a nonunion employer.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:20:39 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BUNDE  remembered the  old student  loan program  where the                                                               
money went  to the education  provider and then the  students who                                                               
were rather divorced from the  process and it wasn't important if                                                               
they showed up or not -  the trainer just collected the money and                                                               
had  little  concern  about  the   future  employability  of  the                                                               
trainee. He asked  Senator Therriault if he had  given thought to                                                               
creating something  like a voucher  program where the  money went                                                               
with the  student. The there might  be some incentive for  him to                                                               
stay in the program.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT indicated that he would consider that idea.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  BUNDE said  he  would  set this  bill  aside  for a  later                                                               
hearing.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  THERRIAULT   wanted  a   list  of  trades   that  needed                                                               
professional training, because he  hears from trainers that there                                                               
is a limitation on where to put trainees.                                                                                       

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