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Workforce Wednesday: Looking to the past to understand future careers

By Daybreak Staff 3:18 PM February 15, 2017

University of Alaska Fairbanks professor Terence Cole has been looking to Alaska’s past to gain insight into the future of careers in our state. What he found was that most jobs that were available more than a century ago don’t exist anymore, and that people need to be instilled with a willingness to adapt change.

“Life is a series of one adaptation after another, and the dramatic changes that have taken place in Alaska over history drive that lesson home like nothing else,” Cole said.

What he realized is that Alaska needs to teach the young workforce to adapt, because the types of careers available now might not be in the next 150 years.

However, according to Cole, Alaska has a competitive edge because it is a natural resource state and probably will be for some time. That means there might always be jobs in mining, fishing, oil and gas.

Cole says that if people are willing to adapt quickly, there will always be career opportunities outside of those resource-dependent jobs.

“Young people need to be prepared,” he said. “They need the best education possible and essentially learning the good habits that everybody does for discipline and be willing to change.”

For more information on new careers, visit the Alaska Process Industry Careers Consortium website.

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