CIRI and other Alaska companies have, together with the Rasmuson Foundation, endowed a new permanent full-time faculty chair for the Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program (ANSEP) at the University of Alaska Anchorage.
“We’ve seen the proven effectiveness of the ANSEP program in helping our Alaska Native youth succeed in careers vital to Alaska’s chief industries,” said Margie Brown, CIRI president and chief executive officer. “CIRI is proud to support this program, and we’re confident that our communities will see the benefit of this effort for years to come.”
Many companies in Alaska, including CIRI subsidiaries Peak Oilfield Service Co. and Alaska Interstate Construction LLC, look to programs like ANSEP to help alleviate the chronic shortage of skilled workers in technically challenging fields often needed in industries such as oil and gas extraction and mining.
The Rasmuson Foundation contributed $2 million in December 2007 to fund the new position. CIRI and other businesses have joined in since then.
The new chair will oversee the ANSEP program and work to build awareness and support for the program both in Alaska and the Lower 48. ANSEP focuses on technical fields and works with students beginning in their freshman year of high school and continuing through graduate school.
Dr. Herb (Ilisaurri) Schroeder, the founder and executive director of ANSEP, started the program in 1995 with one engineering student. Schroeder formed the Pacific Alliance in 2001 with the goal of expanding ANSEP to the University of Washington, University of Alaska Fairbanks and the University of Hawai’i Manoa. Today, the Alliance include 350 engineering students, with more than 140 Alaska Native engineering students in Alaska.