Today we are excited to announce the release of a new publication about the Alaska Marine Highway System.

From Akutan to Ketchikan, Alaskans are sharing their personal stories in a new publication about what the Alaska Marine Highway means to those who rely on it.

"The Value of Alaska's Marine Highway in 25 Stories" was recently published by Southeast Conference in order to show how AMHS impacts residents in communities big and small. " It's a compelling narrative," said Shelly Wright, executive director of Southeast Conference. " There has been so much talk about the bottom line when it comes to marine highways. This publication speaks to the value of the ferry system in a personal way, community by community. To me, this publication lets people understand that the marine highway, whether they know it or not, touches every single person in Southeast Alaska. These Alaskans' stories weave together to form a single tale: Transportation is the lifeblood of coastal communities, and a strong ferry system is essential to local economic development, quality of life, and community well-being."
AMHS serves as an economic engine for the 35 coastal communities that it provides service to in Alaska. Each year, it ferries more than 300,000 people, generating thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in commerce across Alaska. Since the extent of these impacts has never been fully measured, Alaskans who benefit from the state's ferry system were asked to describe its value. The stories shared came from mayors, tribal leaders, business owners, tourism directors, fishermen, economic development experts and other community leaders.
"Angoon has no road connection, no barge service and no runway," says former Angoon Mayor Maxine Thompson in the publication. "... It is the lifeblood of the villages.

This publication was a collaborative effort by Southeast Conference, the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation, the Southwest Alaska Municipal Conference, the Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District and the Prince William Sound Economic Development District.
Each Alaska Regional Economic Development Organization involved in the publication supports economic development in their respective communities and businesses, and each understands the economic importance of transportation. The publication was developed by Rain Coast Data.    
Click Here to Download or pick up a copy from the Southeast Conference office.  

We look forward to seeing at the  Tuesday March 15 to Wednesday March 16, 2016  
Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall in Juneau
This two-day event is comprised of a series of general presentations, panel discussions and committee meetings with discussions on issues of interest throughout the region. Our goal is to get our members together in face-to-face discussions to find common ground for advancement within our region and our state.  

Regional economic trends

Our annual Southeast Alaska by the Numbers report tells two stories about the regional economy: a positive tale of five-year trends, and a more sobering one-year analysis and future forecast. Over the last five years we added 2,600 people and 1,500 jobs to our economy. Total workforce earnings increased by $275 million, with most of that coming from the private sector ($209 million). With the exception of government, nearly every sector flourished. New jobs and investments occurred in the areas of seafood, tourism, mining, construction, healthcare, maritime, and energy. However, data from the last year especially indicates a contraction. 2015 job reports show more losses on the way. The most concerning signal is the long-term strength of our government, which accounts for more than a third of all workforce earnings in the region.. The 12-page overview provides analysis and forecasts on demographics, employment, and earnings; the maritime, visitor, seafood, mining, timber, construction, and health care industries; along with public sector developments . Click Here to Download.

Vigor Alaska was named  Southeast Conference's business of the year. Vigor Alaska was honored for its ongoing work building two new Alaska Class ferries and for its role as an employer in the Southeast Alaska region.

The Southeast Conference honored the organized village of Kasaan, on Prince of Wales island, as the "Community of the Year". Kasaan received the honor base on it's work to pursue cultural, economic and community development.  Some of that development includes the Whale House,  a Carving Shed where local Haida artists display their work, and a medical clinic.
The Kassan Cultural Campus is an integral part of the economic development plan and for the village's cultural eco-tourism effort. Other development efforts include a partnership with the Southeast Island School district and the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium on gardening projects  at Kasaan Barry Stewart School. The Organized village of Kasaan employs 25 people.
Photo: Corrine Garza accepts award from Shelly Wright on behalf of OVK