Eielson Regional Growth Plan PROJECT UPDATE #3Eielson Regional Growth Plan Team
Since our last project update, the project team has continued to work with local, state-wide and national partners to gather and analyze information about the Fairbanks North Star Borough toward answering the question…
How can the FNSB Community benefit from and meet the needs of incoming F-35 personnel and their families?
Most recently, our team met with community leaders to review and discuss population and employment projections, and to consider new (2016 and 2017) employment data from the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
Recent community presentations include:
- On Wednesday, February 28th, Special Assistant to FNSB Mayor Karl Kassel, Jeff Stepp, presented a brief update on the Eielson Regional Growth Plan process to the Fairbanks chapter of the International Right of Way Association.
- On Thursday, March 1st, North Pole Mayor Bryce Ward presented an update on F-35-related development and planning, including the Eielson RGP and the Salcha-Badger Road Subarea Plan, at the Rotary Club of Fairbanks Luncheon. Mayor Ward shared information highlighting population growth in the Salcha-Badger Road area and potential solutions for addressing projected growth that will benefit existing and future residents.
- On Friday, March 9th, Tiger Team members received an updated overview of “Eielson Major Project Award Status” as shared originally by 354 FW/F-35 Public Information Office Director, Kevin Blanchard, during a Fairbanks Economic Development Corporation presentation in November 2017. See details below:
A snapshot of emerging recommendations for some Regional Growth Plan focus areas include (NOTE: Draft and final recommendations will ultimately include potential action items, and lead and partner entities for implementation):
Education and Early Childhood Development
- Improve information-sharing between the Air Force and the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District (FNSBSD) on the estimated arrival times and demographics of incoming Air Force households with children.
- Continue to encourage Air Force families to enroll their children in on-base schools, even if living off-base.
- As student household distribution changes, utilize the FNSB School District’s new technology to reevaluate school boundaries and make updates to accommodate changing distribution and enrollment patterns.
- Offer before and after child care programming at all local elementary schools.
- Encourage off-base schools and parent-teacher associations (PTAs) with high military-connected student enrollment to expand outreach and education to military families on opportunities for parent engagement and volunteerism.
- Encourage the State of Alaska to maintain or increase existing levels of funding, including the Base Student Allocation formula.
- Conduct marketing effort to ensure local child care providers know about the opportunities associated with the F-35A Beddown and the types of training/accreditation to be eligible for Air Force fee assistance funding.
- Work with the Air Force to waive part of the national accreditation requirements so licensed Alaska providers are eligible for Air Force Child Care Fee Assistance.
- Continue to implement Alaska’s Quality Recognition and Improvement System (QRIS) program by building out additional training levels and encouraging provider participation.
- Expand workforce recruitment to encourage residents and incoming dependents to get trained and licensed as child care providers.
- Remove barriers for military spouses to obtain occupational licenses.
- Coordinate with the Air Force to prepare and mail informational packets with details on FNSB employment and training opportunities to military dependents before they arrive at EAFB.
- Prior to the Permanent Change of Station (PCS) departure of military families, conduct debrief/departure interviews or focus groups to learn about their experience in the FNSB with employment and workforce development, including what tools were most useful, what barriers they experienced and whether they have recommendations to improve the process and resources for incoming families.
- Host local training and employment events for residents and incoming military families to learn about the many education, training and employment opportunities available in FNSB.
- Support implementation of Alaska’s five workforce development plans, including the Maritime Workforce Plan, the Teacher Education Plan, the Oil & Gas Workforce Plan, the Mining Workforce Plan and the Health Workforce Plan.
Health and Social Services
- Maintain joint planning and cooperation among military and civilian health planners and health and social service providers serving the region. Consider conducting a joint assessment of health needs and resources on a regular basis.
- Address known gaps in medical specialty care and behavioral health services.
- Connect service families to community supports to strengthen families and address related issues.
Planning and Zoning
- Improve coordination on regional land use and infrastructure issues.
- Guide F-35 growth to benefit existing residents; actively include residents in the planning process.
- Improve planning tools to respond to natural environmental constraints and opportunities, and conserve valuable environmental systems.
- Improve the existing zoning code
- Improve standards/processes affecting building quality, for residential, commercial and other uses.
- Locations of growth: improve and integrate planning for land use and infrastructure, including transportation, public water and sewer.
- Develop an active monitoring process to ensure progress on land use needs and goals.