December 20, 2012 | Volume 42, No. 51

High school offers introductory mining class

About eight Haines High School upperclassmen have enrolled in an introductory mining class that could translate into jobs at mines in the area.

A consortium of mines is underwriting the cost of the college-level class for high school students, said principal Michelle Byer. University of Alaska Southeast and the Alaska Learning Network are partnering in the program.

“The mines employ thousands of people. They want to get into local economies as much as possible. That’s why they’re offering it,” Byer said.

Students completing the class will earn college and high school credit and graduating seniors will be guaranteed a job interview, Byer said. The class offered through UAS typically costs $500, but high school students can take it for a $44 fee.

The class will run Jan. 22 through April 18, with two, two-hour sessions per week. It will be taught by UAS professor Mike Bell and include two field trips to mine sites. Mine jobs range from environmental science to construction, Byer said. “There are a lot of different opportunities there, above ground and below ground.”

Teacher Ed Hays, who is helping organize the course, said it’s a “really good opportunity” for students who may be interested in mining to get a leg up on finding a job. Students who take the class also may be eligible for scholarships for technical training, he said.

An estimated 200 high school students statewide will participate in the class. For more information, contact Hays at 766-6737.