Prepare yourself for life after school

The University of Alaska Anchorage’s Workforce and Community Education Program offers courses to prepare you for the “real world.” Offered through the Community and Technical College, classes cover everything from Microsoft Word to Dreamweaver. There is something for everyone – degree-seeking students or not.

“The goal of this program is to be responsive to community business and industry needs, and to provide short term, cost-effective educational solutions,” training program manager Elisa Mattison said.

The program was originally a part of the Anchorage Community College, and developed more as the ACC merged with UAA in the 1970s. Since then, a plethora of new classes have been added, along with many highly qualified experts to teach them. On the current staff are 13 professors with master’s degrees and five professors with Ph.D.s.

The Workforce and Community Education Program offers one to two day courses in computer software training, business management, grant writing and preparation (LSAT, GRE, etc.). Through these courses students earn CEUs – continuing education units, useful for professional development. The program also offers a one-credit, two-day grant writing course in February – for students who wish to apply credits toward graduation.

A popular course offered through this program is the North Slope Training Cooperative, which is a modular training that covers personal protection gear, the Alaska Safety Handbook and other issues for people who are preparing to work on the Slope. Since everyone working on the Slope is required to have their NSTC card, the Workforce and Community Education Program often works with Veco, BP and others.

Although the program is focused mainly on the Anchorage community and non-traditional, non-degree-seeking students, many traditional students also enroll in the courses offered. Mattison, while explaining the program to students, has received a few humorous responses to the way the program is run.

“After I told one student that most of the courses were not for grades, he said to me, ‘what, you mean all I have to do is show up and learn?’”

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There is no grading system for these courses – almost everything is based on skill development. Popular courses for traditional students include Quickbooks Pro, Microsoft Powerpoint, Adobe Photoshop and more.

Since the Workforce and Community Education Program is what’s known at UAA as a “cost-recovery” department, it has to generate enough income to pay for its own faculty and staff salaries. Because of this, the personnel in this program are very customer service oriented and student friendly.

“We consider all students customers, and customer service is definitely our first priority. We go to great lengths to take care of our students’ needs,” Mattison said.


For more information on the Workforce and Community Education Program, check out their Web site at To speak to a training program coordinator, call 786-6750. Sign up for spring courses today.