Sealaska Hosts Protected Species Observer Training

Sealaska would like to extend warm thanks to the shareholders who joined Sealaska‘s Protected Species Observer Training on February 17 and 18. We are excited to offer shareholders this and other opportunities to learn new skills and grow professionally. Investing in and supporting shareholder careers – especially those that align with our traditional core values, like protecting our people, land, and waters – is a priority to Sealaska. We look forward to making similar training programs available for shareholders and their families in the future.

A unique profession in the marine industry, Protected Species Observers (PSOs) are certified professionals trained in protected species monitoring and mitigation procedures. The program recently offered by Sealaska accepts Indigenous knowledge in lieu of or in addition to a degree, affirming what we already know: Indigenous knowledge and lifelong experience hunting, fishing and being on the water, passed down from generation to generation, is truly equivalent to the knowledge obtained in a more traditional academic classroom setting.

Twenty-three participants completed the full course to become certified PSOs, joining us from across Southeast Alaska, Anchorage, Washington, Oregon, California and Hawaii. In the coming weeks, the Sealaska Shareholder Development team will work with participants on a one-on-one basis to prepare their resumes and apply for the formal certification. Once certified, Sealaska will connect with them to find and apply for job opportunities local to them. Careers in this field can be found at most marine construction sites such as those served by Sealaska’s marine-based businesses, but the skills learned through the PSO training are transferable to many careers across the industry.

“I went into this training just for fun, with absolutely no knowledge of the field, and have come out imagining what life would be like in this career that is so different from mine,” said training participant Ariel Diltz. “Thanks so much to Sealaska for this interesting and helpful opportunity to learn not just how to perform this job, but also for the insights into marine life and science. I really appreciated the enthusiasm, patience, engagement, and shared knowledge and experience.”

Providing access and support for shareholders to explore diverse career pathways is vital to Sealaska’s goal of creating stability for future generations. Programs such as the PSO training link shareholders with educational resources and innovative opportunities – especially in STEM/STEAM fields – that may not have been accessible otherwise. Leaning into our expertise and building on existing Indigenous knowledge empowers shareholders, strengthening shareholder skills in fields that they may not have explored professionally, but where they might already hold a wealth of experience culturally.

"Yes, this program was a great opportunity to offer to shareholders, but what it represents is so much greater," said Sealaska Director of Shareholder Development Tesla Cox. "Sealaska is investing in shareholders - helping grow their skills in fields that align with our values and vision for the future. When that also aligns with the desire to lean into traditional expertise and help empower shareholders by building on the power of their Indigenous knowledge, it's really something to celebrate. We look forward to providing similar opportunities in the future, where cultural values like curiosity and innovation, STEM career paths, and Indigenous knowledge all intersect."

Sealaska has been fortunate to build a Shareholder Development program that we are proud of, serving shareholders and investing in our people. By taking a one-on-one approach to support shareholder careers, Sealaska aims to deliver a personalized experience more closely aligned with traditional values of reciprocity and curiosity. We are committed to growing opportunities such as this one for individuals so they, in turn, are empowered to give back and strengthen their own communities.

Interested in upcoming training opportunities? Sealaska will be rolling out a variety of new Shareholder Development programs in 2022. Visit to see the latest news or sign up for our eNews and follow us on social media.