Andrew Halcro seems to play a little looser with facts when he’s writing about the oil business. When discussing non-resident workers on the North Slope in his most recent Drive By Shouting he claims that most of them are unskilled workers: “…the majority of non-resident workers drive tour buses, clean rooms and serve burgers and brews.” It beggars belief that there are so few unskilled workers in Alaska that the oil companies feel compelled to fly a bunch of maids and short-order cooks round-trip to the North Slope from the lower-48 once or twice a month.
Then just two paragraphs later he says the high percentage of non-residents working the North Slope is caused by a shortage of skilled workers in Alaska and a glut of skilled workers Outside: “…considering the increase in the skilled labor pool nationwide due to the economy. Couple the increased availability of skilled industry workers and attractive wages due to the harsh climate of Prudhoe Bay, with the lack of skilled workers in Alaska and you have a recipe for non-resident workers.”
So most of the the Outside workers on the North Slope are unskilled workers because Alaska has so few skilled workers? C’mon Andrew, you can’t have it both ways.
Having said that, I agree with Andrew that it is not an issue that should be addressed by the state leaning on the oil companies to hire more Alaskans. If we really want more residents on the slope then we need to analyze the jobs being filled by non-residents and develop education and training programs that allow Alaskans to develop the skills needed to fill those jobs.