|Program||# of Grants||EDA Funds|
|Economic Adjustment Assistance||1||$324,000|
As a result of the Yukon River salmon crash of the late 1990’s, eight salmon processors closed their plants and left the region. In 2001, Yukon Delta Fisheries Development Association (YDFDA) set up a make-shift processing facility and began processing salmon again on the Lower Yukon. However, this plant was small and inefficient with limited processing capacity. Limited capacity meant a limited number of processing jobs to be available to the region which was facing unemployment rates exceeding 28%.
In 2012, EDA invested $1.6 million to construct a value-added salmon filet processing plant with blast freezer in Emmonak. This project allows the YDFDA to increase production and expand its domestic and international markets. The facility will also serve as an emergency command center in the event of ice jams and flooding on the Lower Yukon River.
Opened just in time for the 2014 salmon season, YDFDA already exceeded its estimated number of new jobs. In the first year of operation, 70 new jobs were created and $2 million in salmon processing costs were saved. In addition, the EDA investment provided an additional 300 small business fishermen to participate in the fishery. In the past only 400 of the 700 regional permits operated because of a lack of processing capacity. The increased fish processing operation enabled YDFDA’s Yukon Marine Manufacturing Company to increase their boat building of skiffs used by the fishermen.
The project is also providing on-the-job training for 150 – 200 high school age students. The students are brought into the company to be trained as receptionists, data entry analysts, and other non-machinery type positions. The Youth Employment Program helps the students build a worth ethic, self-esteem and confidence while readying them for higher education at the university or in vocational technical programs outside the region.