Alaska WorkSource: where second chances begin

Founded in 2013, Alaska WorkSource (AWS) is a non-profit organization located in Anchorage, Alaska, led by Executive Director Darryl Waters. AWS provides support services for Alaska’s veterans, physically challenged citizens, the homeless, and those who have served time. Services range from complete vocational training to job readiness and employment placement.

Waters started AWS because he saw the need for vocational training programs for people released from treatment programs. “When people leave treatment sober without any job skills and employment prospects, they are not going to stay sober for long,” Waters said.

When a client comes to AWS, they go through an initial evaluation and screening process. After their screening, they are placed into vocational programs for construction, web design, culinary arts or project management. In addition to vocational training, the client receives job readiness training, drug and alcohol treatment and counseling at Tutan Recovery Facility, if needed. They also take a life skill training course developed as a transitional program for re-entry into the workplace and life outside of prison or a rehab facility. Classes in money management, coping with housing challenges, family relationships, health/self-care, and stress management are also available.

Waters said 280 clients graduated from the AWS program to date, and he expects more to graduate with the opening of the new program center in Anchorage that provides services for up to 150 clients at a time.

“There have been 22 homeless deaths in Anchorage since last January, and it isn’t even winter,” Waters said. “People are dying in the streets. We feel that we have a solution. I want AWS to be a highly effective client center, getting people from zero to 60 in the shortest possible time and helping them through barriers that cause people to wipe out.”

Approximately 40 NANA shareholders identified as homeless. The AWS program may provide many with an opportunity to change their situation.

“NANA continues outreach to our homeless shareholders by working with programs like AWS” said Gia Hanna, vice president of Shareholder Relations. “These programs are a mechanism of hope, for rebuilding lives and getting back on track. We will do everything that we can to connect shareholders who are in need with AWS”.

To learn more about AWS or the services they provide, log on to alaskaworksource.org.