Rep. Harriet Drummond

HB 221 Will Increase the Effectiveness of Alaska’s Education and Workforce Training Efforts

Juneau – Today, the Alaska Legislature passed a bill to improve the state’s workforce training efforts by using data collected by state entities. House Bill 221 unanimously passed the Alaska State Senate today after passing the Alaska House of Representatives last month with broad bipartisan support. HB 221 allows the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education to create a new education statistics program called the Statewide Longitudinal Data System (SLDS) through partnerships with the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development, the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, and the University of Alaska.

“House Bill 221 will allow us to take a detailed look at how effectively we spend state money on education and job training in Alaska through the smart use of data,” said HB 221 sponsor Representative Harriet Drummond (D-Anchorage), Chair of the House Education Committee.  “The new statistics program called for in HB 221 will help Alaskans get the specific education and training they need to be successful in the modern economy. By using data collected by state agencies and the University, we can identify gaps in training opportunities and gauge the success of existing workforce training programs. This will allow lawmakers and others to make better decisions, which I believe will produce better results.”

Every year Alaska spends over $2 billion on K-12, postsecondary, and workforce training but the state currently lacks a data-driven system to assess the effectiveness and value of those investments. Currently, 28 states use data sharing systems like the proposed Statewide Longitudinal Data System in HB 221. The bill protects the privacy of Alaskans by requiring that all the records used be kept secure and that no personally identifiable information be shared with the federal government.

House Bill 221 passed the Alaska State Senate today by a unanimous vote of 20-0. The bill passed the Alaska House of Representatives last month by a vote of 36-4. HB 221 will now be sent to Alaska Governor Bill Walker for his signature.

For more information, please contact Alaska House Majority Coalition Press Secretary Mike Mason at (907) 444-0889.