Creating a stronger Alaska through increased hiring opportunities

by Kelly Tshibaka, Commissioner

The State of Alaska workforce serves Alaskans best when it employs outstanding talent that reflects the diversity of the people it represents. The Department of Administration (DOA) has made it possible for State of Alaska departments to hire more Alaskans from a variety of locations, not typically hired from in the past.

Previously, State departments largely hired in Juneau, Fairbanks, and Anchorage, and when a position became vacant, it was filled in the location where the last employee served. In other words, if a Juneau employee resigned, the department was required to fill the position in Juneau, unless it received an exemption.

Now, however, positions are no longer tied to location unless the department mission requires it. All positions can be hired anywhere. Additionally, with the changes necessitated by COVID-19, DOA’s Office of Information Technology has implemented a telework infrastructure, expanding our IT capabilities and strengthening our cybersecurity to support thousands of teleworking employees. Since the pandemic began, we have moved up to 40% of State employees to telework. As a result, Alaskans can work for the State from remote areas where there never have been State jobs before!

Take the new Administrative Services Director for DOA—this position serves like a Chief Operating Officer for the department, reporting to the Office of Management and Budget. When the incumbent left this position in Juneau, DOA searched for the best possible candidate to fill the vacancy. We found incredible talent in Leslie Isaacs.

Mr. Isaacs is Haida, of the Koos Gaa Dee (Eagle/Frog/Beaver) clan. His Haida name is Ts’aang Gaa’y. He lives in Klawock, Alaska with his family. Not only is he able to work for DOA from his home in Klawock, more importantly, he is able to remain an ever-present member in his community. He has said he really values working for the state he loves while living in the village where his grandparents lived. Isaacs is committed to helping the economies of Southeast villages to grow and volunteers his time regularly with groups throughout the area. Prior to joining DOA, Isaacs served as the City Administrator for the City of Klawock. He has a B.A. in Business Administration / Computer Science combined from Western Washington University.

The State of Alaska’s new hiring policies create increased opportunities for all of Alaska. Top talent in communities, towns, and villages can compete for jobs never before available to them. Rural economies could see jobs in their areas that were not possible before. The State workforce can take on a greater quality as it attracts competitive talent and better reflects the diversity of people it serves. And together, we will create a stronger Alaska.

Kelly Tshibaka is the Commissioner for the Department of Administration.