Careers in Animal Care

What does it take to work with animals? What does a vet tech, vet assistant or a veterinarian do?

This week on Workforce Wednesday, we visited with Dr. Erin Earhart from Pet Stop right here in Anchorage. Dr. Erin gave us some food for thought for those interested in entering the veterinary field. The obvious is veterinarians play a major role in the healthcare of pets, livestock and zoo, sporting, and laboratory animals. But did you know some veterinarians use their skills to protect humans against diseases carried by animals? Some conduct clinical research on human and animal health problems. Others work in basic research to develop new ways to use their knowledge.

There is a growing need for veterinarian and support staff. If this looks like a career field of interest to you, watch KTVA’s DayBreak Wednesday morning to find out more and how you might enter the health career field, working with animals.

Where to find Training:

Becoming a Millwright

So you want to be a Millwright? What the heck is that???!!!

Millwrights install, maintain, diagnose, and repair machines. Machines can be compressors, pumps, conveyors, gas, steam, and wind turbines. Every industry requires Millwrights, or their version of someone to maintain their machines, from mining to refineries, nuclear plants, food processing and manufacturing, to even pharmaceutical companies and automobile plants.

As a Millwright, you will use hand and power tools, hoisting and rigging equipment, and precision tools. Lasers, cutting torches, welders, and optical transits are also common.

This skill set can get you into a salary range from $70,000 to $120,000 a year.

Welcome to Vigor

Vigor Industrial – Alaska Ship and Drydock, is the newest member of APICC.
They are a formidable industry in shipbuilding/ship repair in Alaska, with facilities in Ketchikan and Seward.
In Ketchikan, they have two drydocks, one 460 feet of length, 110 feet of width, and 10,000 lt of capacity. Drydock #2 has a 225 foot length, a width of 85 feet, and a capacity of 3,600 lt. To help them with all the heavy lifting, they have three cranes with up to 150 tons of capacity. AND to work on those very lengthy ships, Vigor has a pier with a total length of 1000 ft. All of this is housed on a 15.5 acre facility, 130,000 square feet of which is covered fab and shop area, and 70,000 square feet of assembly hall.  Vigor Ship and Drydock is clearly competitive offering full-service shipbuilding and repair. Vigor employs approximately 180 Alaskans in Ketchikan.


Some projects at Vigor in Ketchikan include the Alaska Marine Highway System’s two newest day ferries, to serve Alaskans along the Lynn Canal between Juneau, Haines, and Skagway. These Alaskan-built ferries’ construction began in October 2014 and are scheduled for delivery late 2018. Additionally, the first Alaskan-built factory longliner was constructed in Ketchikan by Vigor. The F/V Arctic Prowler is 136′ x 41 feet x 26 feet and is powered by two (2) 1,000 HP MTU engines. Her freezer can hold 16,300 cubic feet. That’s a LOT of fish!


In Seward, Vigor Industrial has two drydocks, one with Syncrolift, essentially a large elevator consisting of a structural steel platform, and the other with Travelift, a 4-wheel mechanical steering hoist system. The two on-site cranes can hoist up to 80 tons each. There may be only a single pier at the Seward shipyard, but it’s 300 feet long, and there are two side rail berths, one north, at 181 feet, and the one south at 500 feet. All of this is on an 11-acre facility with 35,000 square feet of covered work area. The marine rails and transfer carriages can accommodate up to 4 large vessels. Vigor Industrial in Seward is a full-service shipyard and the highly skilled team is currently servicing Crowley’s Endurance with repairs and maintenance. On any given day, you will find between 35 and 45 Alaskans working at the shipyard in Seward.


Vigor’s workforce needs are met by Alaskans. Currently they are seeking qualified welders, many of which are grown right there in Seward at AVTEC. One of the unique features Vigor offers their employees is an opportunity to temporarily relocate as an alternative to a layoff when there are lulls in a specific service areas. They also offer training in other ship building and repair specializations to add to the skills of their highly trained workforce.
APICC offers a warm welcome to Vigor Industrial. With the new Maritime Workforce Development Plan, we are excited to be able to assist with the needs of the maritime workforce.