How One Rural Town Is Investing in Alaska's Future Workforce

Nearly two-thirds of Alaska’s cities, towns, and villages are accessible only by plane or boat, which makes having a strong aviation workforce critical to having a strong state economy. Qualified and experienced employees in the aviation industry are in high demand throughout the state, especially in rural communities.

 

The 21st Century Community Learning Center (CCLC) in Nenana is addressing this demand by preparing youth living in rural Alaska for this crucial industry.

Guest Blog: Summer Learning – Full STEAM Ahead

Esteemed colleagues, as did many of you, I celebrated the end of the school year with plenty of joy, reflection on successes and challenges, and, at times, a bit of a heavy heart knowing some students still face big challenges ahead. I gave words of encouragement, attended awards ceremonies and graduation, signed yearbooks, and teared up a bit over goodbyes. The school year has come to an end and I am ready to put my feet up and enjoy some sunny relaxation on the deck. And, like most of my colleagues across the state, that deck time was a fine one hour of celebration and I am now in full summer program planning mode!  

Q&A: Iditarod Elementary Youth Talk About Their NASA STEM Challenge Experience

Students from five afterschool programs located in Mat-Su and Fairbanks participated in the 21st Century Community Learning Center (CCLC) NASA STEM Challenge earlier this year. This Challenge allowed students to demonstrate their engineering design skills and collaborate directly with NASA experts during out-of-school time to gain firsthand, real-world experience in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

 

Five youth from Iditarod Elementary School in Wasilla shared a little bit about their experience working on their challenge “Parachuting onto Mars,” where teams designed, built, and tested a drag device.

Five Afterschool Superheroes Worthy of Recognition

The Alaska Afterschool Network is recognizing five outstanding afterschool professionals who act as everyday superheroes in our youth’s lives during Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week, happening April 24-28.

 

These Afterschool Superheroes help provide academic enrichment and keep youth safe, while making it possible for families to go to work with peace of mind. Out-of-school time staff step forward every day to help children in need, provide healthy snacks and meals, foster success in school, and serve as role models.

 

This year’s five recognized Afterschool Superheroes are highlighted below.

Science Action Club Builds STEM Identity Among Youth

Twenty youth at Bristol Bay 4-H Club stealthily maneuver in the outdoors, keeping their eyes to the sky – they’re on the lookout for birds. These youth are citizen scientists, actively counting birds and documenting their findings in an online platform where professional scientists and ornithologists use the submitted data for research.

Alaska 21st CCLC Youth Showcase Engineering Design Skills

After months of hard work, students at five afterschool programs located in Mat-Su and Fairbanks showcased their engineering design skills after completing the NASA STEM Challenge. Youth documented their hard work in videos, which were displayed during a webinar celebration that included students from around the state, families, and NASA engineers. Watch the students share about their experiences and learn how cargo is dropped onto Mars and how pressure suits protect astronauts!

Alaska 21st CCLC Programs Participate in NASA Challenege

For the past few months, students at five afterschool programs located in Mat-Su and Fairbanks have been hard at work mastering real-world engineering design challenges with NASA scientists as part of a NASA STEM Challenge. Through this program, participants have had the opportunity to collaborate directly with NASA experts during out-of-school time to gain firsthand experience in critically important science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skillsets. 

From Struggling Student to Straight As: An Afterschool Success Story

Dale Austermuhl’s daughter was struggling academically when she started the after school program at her Fairbanks elementary in the second grade. Dale did his best to help, but there’s only so much a single dad working full time on a swing shift can do.