PUBLISHED: 5:17 PM on Wednesday, May 7, 2008
VTRC focussed on bringing jobs to Alaska
Five questions with Archie Cavanaugh
Archie Cavanaugh was born in Wrangell and grew up in Kake, where he graduated from high school in 1969. Following graduation, he went to Everett, Wash. where he attended the Everett Community College under a basketball scholarship.

Upon acquiring his Associates of Arts degree he transferred to Western Washington University where he attained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Secondary Education, majoring in United States History.

  Archie Cavanaugh
He brought his degree back to Alaska, contributing his education to the Central Council where he has been employed 28 years, of which 18 of those years were as the Higher Education manager and the remaining 10 years as the Vocational Training & Resource Center (VTRC) director.

What is the focus of VTRC, who do they serve and how did it come to be?

The VTRC's mission is: based upon the economic development and employment needs that exist within the region, the Vocational Training & Resource Center (VTRC) will provide opportunities for training and career advancement through high quality, post secondary academic and vocational education.

The VTRC is a general public class and rental facility. It holds an open admissions policy for students or renters of any race, creed, color and national or ethnic origin (18 years and older).

The VTRC was planned and established through a strategical planning session between the Central Council of the Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska Executive Committee and staff in 1993. We opened it's doors on September 25, 1998.

What typed of courses do you offer to the community through VTRC?

The VTRC's main courses of income, as a profit entity of the Central Council, is derived from computer and CDL A & B training. Other courses offered include: flagging, Hazmat, oil burner maintenance and troubleshooting with hands-on for boilers and warm air units, QuickBooks, Heating, ventilation, air conditioning and controls and professional writing.

What do you see as the biggest challenge in Southeast's job market right now?

The biggest challenge, from my perspective, are the lack of jobs in SE Alaska communities. To address this we submitted a $1.4 million dollar proposal, entitled the Alaska Comprehensive Training Program (ACT) to Senator Murkowski, Representative Don Young and Senator Stevens to provide a circuit rider training programs, via buses, to take training materials to these villages to provide training in adult basic education needs, basic literacy, life skills, computer skills, accounting, budgeting, grant writing, business communications, office management, and basic economic principals. Train-the-trainer CDL classes are also being planned.

How does VTRC help with job placement?

The VTRC CDL Class A training course is required to assist it's graduating students with finding employment locally. Our CDL instructor works with unions, construction companies and transportation companies in trying to procure employment opportunities for our trainees. Also, we work with the Central Council Employment & Training Division in referring our graduates to them for employment placement assistance, as well.

We understand you are in charge of the Spring King Salmon Derby. What is it designed to do and how does it help the community?

The Spring King Salmon Derby is dedicated to raising scholarship funds for eligible Central Council of Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska students who are pursuing a higher education. Obviously, educating our Native people, and especially having them bring their degree's home and to benefit this community by their education and their professional skills acquired.