Alicia Amberg Headshot
Alicia Amberg
Executive Director
The Associated General Contractors of Alaska logo
In Demand
Influx of construction funding highlights need for workers
By Alicia Amberg

hat a time to work in construction! The last few years have been dizzying, with incredible highs and lows ushered in by a global pandemic and once-in-a-generation infrastructure funding. Here at Associated General Contractors of Alaska, we’re taking an optimistic approach and planning for future opportunities where benefits ripple into every corner of the state.

Alaska is set to receive billions of dollars in infrastructure spending this year, providing new building projects while creating good jobs for Alaskans. Projects on the horizon will require an eager, trained, and capable workforce. And demand for construction work won’t slow down in the foreseeable future.

So where will these in-demand workers come from? Hopefully, from Alaska. But for that to become reality we, as an industry, have work to do. We are charged with selling young Alaskans on the benefits of construction careers. In our minds, it’s an easy sell: a career in this industry provides plenty of benefits outside of compensation, including travel across Alaska, opportunities for growth and learning, new tasks and challenges, and the satisfaction of knowing the infrastructure in our communities is safe and reliable. This career is for anyone enthusiastic about learning, ready to dive into something new, and eager for a stable, family-sustaining job.

As mentioned, Alaska is expected to see approximately $4.6 billion in construction spending (look at the detailed breakdown later in this issue), not including money from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, or IIJA, funds. The good news: IIJA funds are expected to add additional billions of dollars over the next handful of years. The bad news: we’re not the only ones. Many Lower 48 states who are also experiencing a similar construction boom will receive funds and, likewise, will need to recruit skilled workers. Competition for labor will be fierce. Workers from Alaska—who know Alaska—are immensely valuable to our state’s construction scene. We need and want them to stay here. was created with this goal in mind—a marketing campaign and website focused on educating those considering a career in our industry and offering options for career pathways. More information on this exciting resource is featured later in this issue. We are proud of it and confident you will find it a great resource.

Workforce issues are not the only challenges we must overcome. With these new allocation increases, it’s incredibly important the state fulfills its 10 percent funding match. A larger capital budget may be required to make that happen. Unfortunately, capital budgets of that size have not been the norm in Juneau the past several years. The burden of failing to allocate a sustainable capital budget will impact all Alaskans, a concern we have made known to our elected leaders. Of course, it goes without saying AGC will continue to advocate for a timely and sustainable state budget, as well as for more responsible resource development.

AGC is committed to advocating for Alaska’s construction industry; we are strongest when our members unite and remain active in our community. Members can get or stay involved by joining the AGC Education, Training, and Workforce Development Committee. We encourage members to talk to high school seniors about their career paths and the opportunities the construction industry offers. It’s never too early to start educating our youth about the incredible opportunities available to them.

AGC is always here to act as a resource in conversations about careers in construction. We are privileged to assist our members with any relevant needs, including today’s red-hot topic of workforce development. We encourage your feedback and input as we work together to prepare the next generation of workers to keep building Alaska.