Exploring Career Opportunities in Alaska

Note: October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Logo - Alaska Department of Vocational Rehabilitation

This spring, 65 students with disabilities from southeast Alaska participated in the Alaska Division of Vocational Rehabilitation’s (DVR’s) Explore program.

The Explore program is a hands-on career exploration opportunity in the high-demand fields of construction, power technology and healthcare.

Explore is part of Alaska DVR’s Pre-Employment Transition Services that promotes career paths in high-demand, high-wage occupations through postsecondary vocational training for students with disabilities. This program is made possible through a partnership with the University of Alaska Southeast School of Career Education.

Quality Instructors

By partnering with the UAS School of Career Education, the program gives students access to postsecondary instructors who deliver hands-on course content developed with input from industry. Students also have the opportunity to gain insight into the workplace expectations and demands of careers that are of interest.

Students Gain Experience and a Tuition Waiver

Students left Explore with a clear understanding of how they could pursue a career in a high-demand occupation and a $500 tuition waiver to get them started.  Using a career pathways approach, students can be job ready for an entry-level position in these fields in as little as four months and have the ability to advance and increase earnings by adding additional industry recognized credentials as they work.

Chance Dyakanoff, Ketchikan AK

Chance Dyakanoff

Chance is one of ten Explore students who enrolled in postsecondary vocational training this fall. In August, he started a ten-month program in diesel/heavy equipment technology at Alaska Vocational Technical Center (AVTEC).

Chance’s DVR counselor was instrumental in enrolling him in the 2019 Explore program and continues to support his career path with tuition assistance at AVTEC.

Chance plans on moving to Juneau after he completes his studies. He’s still undecided whether he’ll work in a local heavy equipment shop or at one of the large gold mines in the area.

Blog articles provide insights on the activities of schools, programs, grantees, and other education stakeholders to promote continuing discussion of educational innovation and reform. Articles do not endorse any educational product, service, curriculum or pedagogy.


  1. “Career paths in high-demand, high-wage occupations” – hallelujah! This is so smart, and getting youth into positions in as little as four months? WHOA. I especially love that students can advance and increase earnings by getting additional credentials as they work; no more dead-end jobs! We need programs like this all across the country; I hope other states are watching your great work. Best wishes, Chance! Does my heart good.

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