Two divisions within the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development will be combined to consolidate and improve state government operations.

Gov. Bill Walker announced that the Employment Security Division would be merged with the Division of Business Partnerships at a press conference with Labor Commissioner Heidi Drygas. The new division will be called the Division of Employment and Training Services. Walker explained that the idea came from Drygas. The consolidation of the two divisions is expected to save the state government $600,000 annually. While this won’t balance the Alaskan budget, it is certainly a step in the right direction for the state. Importantly, the combination of the two divisions will not result in any layoffs.

“It’s going to result in the elimination of eight vacancies within both divisions, and that really is just a start,” Drygas said. “As we move forward with consolidation, we can identify possibly other vacancies that we can eliminate, as well as other efficiencies.”

Consolidation will streamline UI benefits department 
Many departments within the state government are seeking to combine in an effort to streamline operations. Walker even shares a chief of staff with Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott. He explained that the state will seek to consolidate further moving forward.

The Division of Business Partnerships helps private employers provide training on sustainable jobs. The Employment Security Division runs job centers throughout the state that help people maintain long-term employment. The division also has several other functions. It runs the online Alaska Labor Exchange and offers educational services to adults seeking their high school diplomas. Additionally, the division offers unemployment insurance benefits.

Other moves made to improve Alaskan employment
The state has also been taking action to improve employment in Alaska. The state’s unemployment rate is 6.7 percent, compared with the national average of 5.8 percent. To bring the unemployment rate in Alaska more in line with the national figure, Dry​gas declared the state a “zone of underemployment.” This will require 90 percent resident hiring on all construction jobs funded with state money, ensuring that Alaskan tax dollars go toward hiring Alaskans.

At Corporate Cost Control, we work closely with employers across the country to better manage the nuances of unemployment insurance. Legislation changes on the state level could impact you today, and we welcome any questions or concerns you may have on a wide range of topics.


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