During the last few years, the state of Alaska has seen both highs and lows with the influx of people (and dollars) to the region. But with the COVID-19 pandemic taking its toll on the country and major changes in federal administration, this has also ushered in a multi-billion-dollar infrastructure package that will pour billions of dollars into the state – and construction companies are looking to take advantage.
With the growing demand for construction coming on the heels of a billion-dollar infrastructure spending bill, many wonder just where all the workers will be coming from. After all, growing demand means that more workers will be needed for planning and labor. But innovative businesses are also enticing workers to come to the state.
Despite the enthusiasm surrounding new growth and construction spending, Alaska remains a unique place. And it takes people who know Alaska to build in Alaska. Here we’ll explore how Alaskans are developing solutions to meet the growing need for construction in Alaska.
Want to learn more about innovative solutions for high construction demand? Speak with one of our experts at GPS Alaska today.
Building a New Generation of Alaskan Workers
It’s no secret that the state of Alaska has been dependent upon skilled workers moving in from the lower 48. But Alaska is a unique place that can also capitalize on able-bodied workers right at home. This is why the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development (ADLWD) has developed a strategy to recruit and train workers native to Alaska.
As part of a comprehensive package to attract locals to the construction workforce, the ADLWD is putting in place a plan to entice potential workers, beginning with the following steps:
- Increase access for locals who are interested in pursuing careers in construction to real-time information, support services, construction training, and employment through strategic outreach and marketing of construction-related occupations and careers.
- Increase access to quality education and hands-on training that provides Alaskans with the skills necessary to competitively secure employment in construction-related occupations.
- Obtain employment for all who successfully complete training and demonstrate that they have acquired the skills necessary to be competitive and effective in Alaska’s labor force.
- Ensure that Alaskans who choose to enter the construction workforce have the support necessary to complete training and stay in the workforce – and stay in Alaska.
Though this process has been ongoing since 2006, the ADLWD is hopeful that their efforts will work to entice native Alaskans to pursue careers in the construction industry – especially as funding begins pouring in from Federal resources.
How Construction Technologies are Attracting New Workers to Alaska
For the past few decades, nationwide efforts have been geared toward enticing younger people to pursue college and earn a degree for jobs with high-earning potential. And this has left the trade industry begging for workers. However, the new technology that construction companies are using is offering younger job-seekers attractive options for learning new skills in the construction industry.
For example, here at GPS Alaska, we have a vast amount of infrastructure technology in high demand. And this technology not only helps to streamline productivity on the job site, but these tools can also be attractive options for those looking to make a career in the construction industry – and get their hands on some fancy new tech.
A few attractive high-tech tools that are helping develop productivity on job sites across Alaska are:
- GNSS Receivers
- Total Station Systems
- 3D Machine Control Systems
- iDig Grade Control Systems
With the tools listed above, construction companies can not only work smarter and safer, but they can also become marketing tools for prospective locals interested in new tech and careers in the Alaskan construction industry.
Surveying a job site can take an entire crew. And when you’re doing things the old-fashioned way, you’ll likely be incurring huge costs for this necessary step. But GNSS receivers can alleviate a lot of man hours, and cost.
A GNSS receiver collects signals from satellite constellations to accurately measure points and determines a position. Many job sites in Alaska are free from tree canopy and have a clear and open view of the sky. For sites with such attributes, GNSS receivers can be the most efficient choice for data collection on open land surveys.
Though these tools require a bit of training, the tools themselves are just a small part of the amazing tech that tech-savvy construction companies are employing today.
Total Station Systems
For those who need to meet urban development demands, and where access to constellation satellites isn’t an option, total station systems can be a great asset.
This surveying instrument is more aligned with manual use and utilizes electronic theodolite and distance meters to take finite measurements on the ground. And the technology itself has revolutionized the surveying role – enabling surveyors to operate total stations robotically, capture images, and gather information electronically.
Total stations are also alluring tools for those who once believed that every role in construction required manual labor. But with total station tools, though some manual manipulation is required, the tech itself is an attractive option for many Alaskans who prefer roles using advanced technology.
3D Machine Control Systems
When it comes to advanced construction technology, nothing could be more enticing than 3D machine control systems. Where a heavy equipment operator once had to spend hours in hand’s-on training and suffer the mistakes that all novices make, 3D machine control can take the guesswork away.
3D machine control systems are grade control systems that utilize cutting-edge earthmoving technologies that place design surfaces, grades, and alignments in three-dimensional charting all inside the cab of heavy construction equipment – all at your fingertips.
These systems use an amalgam of either GPS and laser or GPS and total station tech to position your blade or bucket with accuracy – and with little effort. And as you can imagine, these amazing devices significantly reduce training time and manual error and dramatically increase productivity and profitability.
iDig Grade Control Systems
Another advancement in the line of grade control systems is the modern 2D modeling system. And the iDig grade control system is perfect for contractors who need to operate in areas that require large-scale excavation equipment.
With the iDig system, you can manage distances, depths, and desired slopes. But this advanced system can be installed easily as it has no cables, offers radio communication along with a bar graph and LED display that guides your bucket, and features solar charging.
With a user interface designed with excavator operators as consultants, this is a piece of equipment that can assist you in a variety of job site applications and can be another attractive option for those just getting their feet wet in the construction trade.
The Future of Alaskan Construction
People come to Alaska because of its natural allure. But as mentioned, the people who come from the lower 48 to live are going to need places to live – and places to work.
With infrastructure spending at an all-time high, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity has finally arrived to build Alaska better – hopefully by attracting local workers interested in the construction trade. And high-profile construction technology companies are also helping to scout out potential talent, luring the locals in with advanced options to get involved in construction and help build Alaska for the modern era.
Want to learn more about construction technology? Contact GPS Alaska today and talk with industry-leading experts.