At the request of Senator Mark Begich, the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) released a website detailing the benefits of 8(a) contracting, Benefits of Alaska Native Corporations and the SBA 8(a) Program to Alaska Natives and Alaska.
The report is a collection of documents published from 1984 to 2009. Each contains a historical or contemporary explanation of the continuing development of Alaska's Native populations and the positive role and influence of 8(a) contracting and Alaska Native corporations (ANC).
"The publication of this website is a real eye-opener about the enormous accomplishments of Alaska Native corporations," said Sen. Begich. "In Alaska, it is widely known that ANCs and the Small Business Administration's 8(a) program have played a vital role in the continuing economic development of Alaska and Alaska Native peoples by increasing economic opportunity, reducing levels of poverty and creating vital infrastructure in some of the most remote communities in the United States."
The website is divided into four sections. Included in these sections is a summary of social and economic status changes of Alaska Natives from the year before the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act until present, a description of the contributions of ANCs to Alaska Native employment, income, social programs, and well-being, a description of contributions of the 8(a) program, and a collection of six case studies that illustrate the accomplishments of 8(a) contracting in overcoming barriers to business development.
The introduction to the collection points out that "There were many concurrent changes throughout this dynamic period of Alaska's history and we cannot attribute all the improvements to the ANCs, though it is clear that they play an important catalyst role."
The release of ISER's report comes as ANCs and 8(a) contracting will be reviewed before a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight. The hearing will be held at 2:30 p.m. EDT on July 16, 2009. Senator Mark Begich as well as representatives of the Alaska Federation of Natives, National Congress of American Indians and the Native American Contractors Association will be participating.
The website can be viewed at the following address: http://www.iser.uaa.alaska.edu/Home/8a.html