What was once an old, flood-victimized, asbestos-filled courthouse downtown — that not even the court system wanted anymore — is now no more. In its place gleams UAF’s four-story Community and Technical College, committed to serving the North Star Borough’s workforce development needs. CTC is likened to Arlo Guthrie’s 1967 ballad “Alice’s Restaurant”:

“You can get anything you want at Alice’s restaurant

“Walk right in, it’s around the back

“Just a half a mile from the railroad track.” 

Now, we all know the economic value of education: A high school diploma will dramatically increase a person’s lifetime income over that of a high school drop-out. So, too, does some college beat a high school diploma, just as a college certificate or associates degree beats the income of some college.

As the saying goes: “But wait! There is more!”

Research has proven that education not only has an economic value, it has an even greater value to our health and longevity above that of income. I can email to you a link to the research findings and citations.

What is the value of a two-year Associate of Applied Science degree? Plenty if you plan to start your own business and become your own boss. Take, for example, the testimony of Pam Sattler, of North Pole, just one of hundreds of applied business or accounting graduates:

“My decision to return to school was life-changing. With a focus in entrepreneurship and a goal of starting my own business, the UAF Community and Technical College inspired me to dream big, and so I did. After graduating with an A.A.S. in applied business in 1999 and an A.A.S. in applied accounting in 2000, and additional coursework in graphic design and web design, I founded my company, Santa’s Letters and Gifts, in 2002. And 17 years later, the rest is history.”

Pam Sattler, Owner

Santa’s Letters and Gifts

Phone: 907-488-8118

Email: slandg@alaskan.com

Website: www.SantasLettersAndGifts.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/SantasLettersAndGifts

Instagram: @SantasLettersAndGifts

But wait! There is even more!

Last fall, the college offered ABUS 265 — Marketing Seminar, Social Media Marketing with Adjunct Professor Ruth Gastineau. This semester the course is being offered by Ruth online beginning Aug. 26. (I can email the syllabus.)

The following letter reflects the positive impact this one course had on participants:

“When I started this course in January, I knew next to nothing about social media. When I completed the course in May, I became certified in social media management and started my own business — I named it ‘Handled.’

“My instructor, Ruth Gastineau, has such a strong ‘why’ for helping others determine their purpose that I was able to begin complete process of discovering that I wanted this to be what I do and my ‘why’ being the passion and love I have for so many locally owned business here in my golden heart community, Fairbanks. I can help a business who may be struggling with a social media strategy or those that simply want to outsource this job so they can put more focus on other areas of their business. I already have clients!”

Alyssa Handy, Social Media Manager

Handled, Social Media Marketing & Management

Phone: 907-888-3922

Email: handledobm@gmail.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/handledobm

Instagram: @handled._

605 Barnette St. is no longer a rusty old courthouse; it is a full service, thriving community college located in downtown Fairbanks. It boasts 20% of UAF’s credit hours, 28% of UAF’s student body, 2,500 students each semester, 300-plus adjunct faculty who are working professionals in our community and 340-plus community and industry partners. Just imagine what economic impact all these people bring to our downtown; because of CTC, students can take one course, or a full degree in the classroom or online from experts who are successfully doing what they are teaching. Registration is happening now and classes start Aug. 26.

One does not need a graduate degree to start a business, one just needs a dream, an idea and the knowledge to put it all together. Bill Gates dropped out of college after two years and started a funny little company he called “Microsoft.” Can you imagine a sillier name?

If Bill Gates, Pam Sattler, Alyssa Handy and many, many others can do it, why not you? Your Community and Technical College is here to help, just like “Alice’s Restaurant.”

Come to think of it, CTC does offer a culinary arts program complete with a restaurant, as well as an aircraft maintenance program with a real Boeing 727 jetliner to learn on.

Charlie Dexter is a professor of applied business emeritus at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Community and Technical College. He can be reached at charlie.dexter@alaska.edu. This column is provided as a public service of the UAF Applied Business Department.