Restored ‘Alaska Hire’ Rules to Use State Residents on Most Infrastructure Projects

AASHTO Journal, 19 June 2015

Alaska Gov. Bill Walker, and Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Heidi Drygas, announced they will be restoring statewide “Alaska Hire” standards for publicly funded infrastructure projects, which they said will mean at least 90 percent of jobs on projects such as road construction are awarded to Alaskans.

“Alaskans know how to build infrastructure, and state funding for public projects should employ Alaskans first,” Walker said. “With this Alaska Hire determination, we are restoring a long-standing, non-partisan policy that puts Alaskans to work on important infrastructure projects.”


The hiring rules that take effect July 1 apply to a range of occupations such as equipment operators, surveyors, truck drivers, welders, laborers, mechanics, engineers and architects. Contractors unable to locate Alaskans for a job must obtain a waiver before hiring non-residents.

The June 10 announcement said a series of Independent, Republican and Democratic governors had maintained Alaska Hire requirements for public projects until the program was terminated in 2013, and that the Legislature established standards under which the resident-hiring requirements must apply.

This came as the Legislature were struggling to come up with a state budget that would also take effect July 1, and as Gov. Walker prepared for a partial government shutdown that would include idling all 11 ferries in the Alaska Marine Highway System under the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.

However, lawmakers completed work on a budget June 11 that tapped a state reserve account to cover shortfalls left by falling oil revenues.

While that meant the ferries would continue operating as normal to serve 35 Alaskan communities, the agency issued a public apology. “AMHS apologizes to our loyal customers and the traveling public for the turmoil and confusion this budget uncertainty may have caused,” it said.

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