The Alaska Association for Career & Technical Education (ACTE) held their annual professional development conference, Growing Stronger Together 2019, this week at the Captain Cook Hotel in Anchorage. The event is “the only statewide conference dedicated to professional development of Career Technical Education (CTE) professionals in Alaska.” Several presenters came from the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) this year to speak on a range of topics throughout the conference.

Trang Tran discussing a slide in her presentation

Trang Tran presenting at AACTE on October 14, 2019

Director of the Center for Alaska Education Policy Research (CAEPR) and Research Assistant Professor of Education Policy, Dr. Dayna DeFeo, and Research Professional, Trang Tran, presented “Dual Enrollment in Alaska: Exploring 10 years of enrollment and student outcome data,” alongside University of Alaska Workforce Programs Associate Vice President, Teri Cothren. Their presentation was centered around their research from their recent report, Dual Enrollment in Alaska: A 10-year retrospective and outcome analysis, and explored the University of Alaska Anchorage’s (UAA) dual enrollment (DE) options and the distribution of programs across geographic and demographic groups from 2008 to 2017, examined the student participation and academic outcomes throughout the period, and compared the DE activities to the previous decade.

Research Professional, Jessica Passini, and Dr. DeFeo presented “Exploring Homesickness & Postsecondary Transitions in Alaska.” This presentation explored themes of homesickness that were identified in multiple ISER studies the hope that attendees would consider the information in the future so that they might identify potential opportunities to support student success.

Tran’s second presentation, “Alaska High School Graduation Rate Trends,” was based on her research detailed in a summary of the same name co-written with ISER’s Associate Director of Finance and Administration, Alexandra Hill. The research took a look at graduation trends from the academic year 2010-11 through 2015-16 and examined the differences across demographic groups with a focus on students from public neighborhood high schools.

The closing keynote speech, “The Impact of Demographics and Economics on Alaska’s Workforce Development Choices,” was given by ISER Director and Professor of Economics, Dr. Ralph Townsend. Dr. Townsend discussed how the confluence of short-run economic challenges and long-run demographic changes may be undermining the viability of Alaska’s reliance on attracting out-of-state workers and stressed the importance of communicating the impact of these changes to the public and to policy makers.

For more information about the Alaska ACTE or the 2019 conference, please visit