Alaska CAN! Uses Data to Help Build Workforce & Support Students

Data has been a driving force behind the work that the statewide Alaska Post-Secondary Action and Completion Network (or Alaska CAN!) has focused on since forming five years ago. The Network used data to set a goal; 65% of Alaskans will have a credential by 2025. The goal, which refers to college degrees and certificates like Occupational Endorsements, is splashed all over their website. In fact, it’s the name of the website: Check it out; there’s a ton of great information on there. 

Using data to track progress has allowed the Network to focus the conversation on the systemic barriers and the meaningful work that needs to happen to improve outcomes for ALL students. The goal is to train Alaskans to fill Alaska’s future workforce needs. The good news is:

  • there are and will be jobs in the future, and 
  • the cost of a four year college degree in Alaska is relatively low compared with the rest of the country. 

The challenging news is that Alaska has:

  • the lowest low income participation in the country,
  • the lowest 4-6 year graduation rate in the country, and
  • the highest percentage of students with some college and not a degree.

The data also points to the fact that not all of Alaska’s future workers will need a four year degree, but they will need some certifications and training after high school. 

The data has brought urgency to questions about how we make college and certificate programs more accessible for low-income students and how we support students in persisting to graduation.

If you’re interested in getting more engaged with the Post-Secondary Access and Completion Network please join the regional Southeast Alaska CAN! calls. The next teleconference is November 19th at 11am (contact Emily,, for more information). And if you’re ready to take a deep dive, plan to attend the statewide Alaska CAN! conference in Anchorage, February 27th & 28th.