VISTA Programs

SWAMC has supporting several AmeriCorps*VISTA members and programs throughout the years, with the goal of enhancing Southwest Alaska's economy. The VISTA programs have covered Energy, Environmental Conservation, Tourism, Economic Development Planning, Broadband Planning, and STEM Education.

STEM Education
This program started in Spring 2012 with the goal of integrating more Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) curriculum and activities into our Southwest school systems. This has involved work in Ocean Sciences, Financial and Digital Literacy, Energy Education, Basic Engineering, and other topics. Currently, it is the only active Vista program at SWAMC. The STEM Education Coordinator is also responsible for Workforce Development initiatives and builds capacity for programs such as Junior Achievement within the region. The STEM Resources page can be found  here.

Energy Program
Started in December 2005, the SWAMC Energy Project served as a means to document energy costs, increase energy conservation and efficiency efforts, and facilitate alternative energy development within the SWAMC region. The goal of the Energy Project was to assist southwestern Alaskan communities in lowering energy costs by focusing on energy conservation, investment in renewable energy and cooperative purchasing agreements. The overall objective of the project was to bring stable and affordable energy costs into the SWAMC region in order to spur economic growth. We still use ideas and information from that program in our energy work and planning.

Environmental Program
Started in December 2007, the SWAMC Environmental Program was focused primarily on solid waste issues. Cost-effective, safe, and ecologically sustainable solid waste disposal is a challenge faced in every community in Southwest Alaska. Isolated communities, unique soil and hydrological conditions, limited infrastructure, and high material costs are only a few of the many hurdles communities must overcome. The goal of the SWAMC Environmental project was to improve solid waste services in our member communities. Topics of interest include: community recycling programs, scrap metal backhaul, controlled burning and incineration, composting, hazardous waste storage and removal, and electronics waste recycling. We still confront these same issues from time to time and continue to work on them in our organization.

Planning and Research Program
This program started in Summer 2009 and focused on re-writing our CEDS document. Currently, SWAMC staff members annually update the CEDS document and info database that this project helped build.