Project Details


ABSTRACT#0732973IPY: Employment & Sustainability in a Time of TransitionContemporary Arctic society is facing dramatic economic, social, and climate change that challenges existing strategies of community sustainability and regional economic development. Trajectories of natural environment change are commonly analyzed, but less studied is how environment change opens alternative social and economic paths, which paths are most desirable, and what actions are needed to sustain them. How do Arctic communities remain viable and what are the implications for human capital development? Is the Arctic mixed economy, consisting of wage and subsistence activities, sustainable or is the Arctic transitioning to a predominantly industrial, wage economy? This project will help communities, workers, and businesses address these issues through analysis of current and prospective patterns of human capital development and careers in the major Arctic industries. As part of the the International Polar Research research initiative, this project will develop ?linked,? tripartite case studies of industry, workers, and communities and use videography as both research tool and as a means for community members to document and analyze ongoing changes. Central to the study are the following issues: How do communities sustain their coherence and even existence in the face of climate change, of industrial economic development, and of employment and education opportunities that appear to draw off their younger members? How do individual workers develop skills and careers in highly seasonal work and/or while maintaining subsistence activity and traditional community participation? How do businesses sustain and grow their activities, develop and fully utilize available human capital, and adapt to changing climate conditions and to economic growth opportunities? Case studies include: fish processing in St. Paul/Pribilof Islands and oil and gas field services in the North Slope Borough. The Tribal Government of St. Paul will partner in the Aleut/fish processing case study; in the North Slope Borough, Barrow Arctic Science Consortium will partner in the research and several oilfield service companies have agreed to participate.The important social benefits will be insights into sustainability of careers, businesses, and communities in the face of climate, social, and economic change. It will provide multiple perspectives on the impact of climate change on human and economic activity. Partnering with Native communities is an integral part of the methodology to document and assess the role of workforce development in future directions of community development. Video will be used to document and archive contemporary conditions as part of the historical record as well as providing raw ?data? for each community and for future research. The video capability developed in the communities and the technical assistance and participatory research will support ongoing education within and between communities as well as outreach to schools and the public outside the Arctic.
Effective start/end date7/2/088/31/11


  • National Science Foundation (National Science Foundation (NSF))


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