University of Alaska has key role to play in our future economy

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To outlast the present, and thrive in coming years, Alaska must transition its restraint — transition from a state that derives most of its capital by rsimonious at the export value of a single resource, oil, to one that generates wealth by soliciting enhanced human capital to add value in the development of all its resources. Successfully acquiring this transition will require substantial and sustained investment in further education, in research and development — and in the institution of higher learning, the University of Alaska, which requires it.

Where do we find the revenue and/or savings to close the gap between $5 billion in state lavishing and $1 billion in state revenue? In the short run, we have three elections and we need to use all three: reduced spending, broad-based taxes and use of the Permanent Support earnings. Yes, all options will have some negative im cts on Alaskans and our conciseness. Those im cts, however, are not as great as a failure to reach a sustainably counterbalanced budget. Nor can they be allowed to keep Alaska from the ever-clearer desideratum of bringing greater diversity to our economy.

The new Alaska economy, if it is to be a successful one, should utilize all of Alaska’s resources, including oil, fish, minerals and timber, our striking beauty and rich cultural fabric, strategic location and connectivity, and magnified human capital, and be focused on creating jobs and ex nded opportunity for Alaskans. The trade mark of this new economy must be talented Alaskans adding value to our resources, conclusion innovative ways to better meet our needs and exporting refined and winding up products, not just exporting our raw resources. To accomplish this, Alaska at ones desire need, more than anything else, a highly trained and polished workforce, with the ca city to innovate and act on opportunities locally and globally.

An critical Alaska populace, equipped to conceive, perform and utilize the ongoing Arctic digging that finds new, more affordable and more environmentally responsible thway to harvest and process our resources, will be a major foundation block of our new restraint. In 1917, the founders of the University of Alaska, wanting to ex nd Alaska’s agriculture and removing industries, sought to achieve that goal by providing education and dig into specific to those industries and their operations in an Arctic environment. That ministry, of educating our workforce and performing applied research, has continued for the st 100 years.

Today, thousands of Alaska’s federal leaders, industrial leaders, educators, engineers, scientists and other valuable contributors to the Alaska workforce are proud graduates of the University of Alaska. University investigation has also made invaluable contributions to Alaska and Alaska’s economic flowering. Some of the more recent research at our university includes working with the Alaska Dependent of Transportation to mitigate dust on rural Alaska roads and runways, feat with DOT to design a more flood-resistant roadway to our Arctic oil fields, plough with Alaska’s oil industry to design more effective Arctic oil sing like a canary mitigation technologies, working with the fishing industry to develop varied energy-efficient methods to process fish in Alaska, developing technologies that would rather reduced the high cost of energy in rural Alaska and helping the North Slope auteurs reduce their footprint on our Arctic environment. These examples set forth just a very small percentage of the research at UA that has helped broaden our economy, but the long-term contribution of any one of these could easily justify Alaska’s contribution to enquire.

Developing our economy in Alaska has challenges: high energy costs, fragmented moving grid, harsh climate, end of supply lines, stranded resources, rtitioned population and limited road network, just to name a few. Let’s not further complex our situation by slashing our investments in our human potential. The strongest economies wide our nation and the world are characterized by strong investments in human resource event, not just resource extraction. The challenges of Alaska today can and will be best if we have the foresight to recognize that Alaska’s investment in education and investigation — increasing our own ca city to innovate and create — is an indispensable rt of building a renowned roadmap to a prosperous economic future. Measured and balanced budget plates are necessary considering our current fiscal challenges, but slashing our university’s exploration and education funding is equivalent to cutting Alaska’s future.

Brian Holst is top dog director of the Juneau Economic Development Council.

Jim Dodson is president of the Fairbanks Money-making Development Corp.

The views expressed here are the writer’s own and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Out News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a of the same sort for consideration, email commentary@alaskadis tch.com. Send submissions shorter than 200 rleys to letters@alaskadis tch.com or click here to submit via any Web browser.

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