NSEDC Board of Directors votes to contribute $170,000 to NACTEC and $30,000 to NEST
NOME—The Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation (NSEDC) Board of Directors contributed a total $200,000 to two regional entities that provide support and services, and make a direct impact on individuals in the Norton Sound region—the Northwestern Alaska Career and Technical Center (NACTEC) and Nome Emergency Shelter Team (NEST).
“These organizations specialize in reaching our member community residents on the individual level,” Board Chairman Dan Harrelson said. “Our board recognizes the needs that NACTEC and NEST respond to, and unanimously approved the funding to ensure these vital services remain.” During their budget meetings in December the NSEDC Board of Directors approved a $170,000 contribution to NACTEC and a $30,000 grant for the NEST shelter.
NACTEC opens students’ eyes to possibilities
With the $170,000 contribution from NSEDC, NACTEC will develop training programs so that every 8th grade student of Nome Public Schools and Bering Strait School District will be afforded the opportunity to participate in 2015 Junior High career exploratory programs. “Eighth grade has been identified as a critically important year for students to be exposed to careers and job opportunities that they may not otherwise see in their home communities,” NACTEC Director Doug Walrath, PhD said. “Career and Technical Education training opportunities keep students engaged in the schooling process, as they can ‘see the light’ at the end of the tunnel, which prevents dropout in the early high school years.”
NACTEC will also focus on expanding Driver Education training opportunities. “The two prerequisites for most entry-level jobs these days are a high school diploma and a driver’s license,” Dr. Walrath said. The funding from NSEDC will permit NACTEC to follow through with plans to become a DMV third-party examiner, which will create more road testing opportunities for young drivers. “Every high school student should make it their goal to earn their driver’s license prior to graduation. The support of NSEDC will assist us with creating programming opportunities and outreach to produce more licensed drivers in the Bering Strait region,” Dr. Walrath said.
NEST provides a much-needed safety net
The $30,000 NSEDC grant given to NEST, Nome’s local emergency shelter, helps free the organization to focus on homeless prevention, according to NEST Director Sue Steinacher. “It’s a tremendous shot in the arm and a great relief to know that the fundamentals that are required of a functioning nonprofit are taken care of,” Steinacher said. “The funds help provide a solid foundation for the NEST shelter, because they will cover the rental costs to the Nazarene church, insurance, payroll taxes and the absolutely necessary, but less glorious parts of operating a nonprofit.” Steinacher also said they are required to undergo an audit and this funding will also cover that cost. The NEST shelter provides a safe and secure location for both residents and visitors to Nome who find themselves without a place to spend the night during the winter months.
“The board realizes the importance partnerships play in maintaining many of the programs that make the Norton Sound region a healthier and better place to live,” NSEDC Board Vice Chairman Don Stiles said. NSEDC recognizes the need for programs such as those that NACTEC and NEST offer. These programs benefit all regional communities, whether by creating education and training opportunities that lead to a more prepared and skilled local workforce, or by providing a basic and vital human service to individuals in and from our communities who are in a time of need.
The $170,000 donation to NACTEC is eligible for the Alaska Education Tax Credit. The $30,000 donation to NEST is administered in accordance with NSEDC’s Outside Entity Funding (OEF) guidelines. More on the NSEDC’s OEF program can be found at here.
For more information on NACTEC, contact Doug Walrath, PhD at (907) 443-3507. For more information on NEST, contact Sue Steinacher at (907) 443-7673.