Student Spotlight


Alex Marques

Alexander Marques
First year Diesel Mechanic Apprentice
Joined UAA Apprenticeship program - October 2019 

Alex’s family moved from Washington 12 years ago to seek better work opportunities in Alaska’s robust economy. The son of a Portuguese immigrant, he learned his work ethic from his father's example, and soon learned the fundamentals of mechanics. Alex applied for a parts runner position at a local business, (RWC Group) and was hired on as a shop helper instead.

In the summer of 2019, RWC Group partnered with UAA to help develop their Diesel Mechanic Apprenticeship program. Alex’s supervisor recognized his ambition and aptitude and prompted him to join the Apprenticeship program in October.

“I like working with my hands and get a sense of accomplishment from fixing my own vehicles.” Alex enjoys the challenge Apprenticeship brings. He feels that this opportunity will open a lot of doors for him and become a bridge to financial independence. “I see myself becoming a master mechanic one day and eventually moving up into supervision.”

Alex has embarked on an alternative career path to traditional degree-seeking students. The responsibilities involved in this choice can be rigorous, but the rewards are substantial and life changing.


Earn While You Learn

  • As an apprentice, you earn money from day one. You gain skills and knowledge to succeed and be employed sooner than degree- seeking students.
  • Apprentices earn wages from full-time employment while attending college part-time, taking an average of 7 credits per semester. 
  • The average loan amount for undergraduates at the University of Alaska Anchorage is $6,723 per year (UAA Cost of Attendance).
  • Apprentices have access to federal funding that traditional students are not eligible for. This is available to all federally registered apprentices regardless of their social or economic status. The Workforce Investment Opportunities Act (WIOA) pays toward books, tuition, parking, and tools, and can also be used for transportation, childcare and other services.

Work Advancement and Wage Increases

  • In addition to a steady job, work advancement and wage increases are integral to apprenticeship.
  • Once you have successfully completed the required number of hours, training and coursework, you will receive an annual wage increase of approximately 10%. 
  • First year apprentices make 60% of journey worker wages or $16.20 to $19.20 per hour depending on the occupation.

Nationally Recognized Certificate and College Credit

  • Upon completion of the apprenticeship program, you will receive a nationally recognized journey worker credential from the Department of Labor, and 49 to 52 college credits towards Associate of Applied Science in Automotive Technology or Diesel Power Technology.
  • Journey worker automotive and diesel mechanics earn an average of $27 to $32 per hour in Alaska.