Business/Economy

Another rural Alaska job center shut down amid fresh round of budget cuts

One of Alaska's rural job centers, where Alaskans can go for help with job searches, interview skills, resume writing and more, will close later this month in Northwest Alaska.

The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development said Thursday that it will close the Kotzebue Job Center on Aug. 19.

"While the department has significantly reduced administrative costs to maintain maximum program and services delivery, a 33 percent cut in the department's state general funds over the past two years requires a revamp of service delivery and closure of some offices," a press release from the department said.

This comes after the closure of job centers in Barrow and Seward last year, which the department said saved $316,000. Shuttering the Kotzebue center is expected to save another $166,000 annually.

Last year, there were 2,200 total visits to the Kotzebue center, "with 413 distinct individual job seekers using the resource room or receiving services," said Heather Beaty, executive director of the department's Alaska Workforce Investment Board, in an email.

"Deep budget cuts and the lack of a sustainable fiscal plan mean cuts in the services we provide to Alaskans," said Labor Commissioner Heidi Drygas in a statement. "I regret that the closure of a rural job center is necessary given our current fiscal situation; however, we will continue assisting Kotzebue residents through our online services."

The department pointed to the Alaska Labor Exchange system job website as a resource for those affected by the closure, and also said people can call the Fairbanks Job Center at 1-888-789-1905.

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