Posts tagged: workforce training
Idaho’s workforce training program is shifting gears, with the announcement today that it’s awarding grants to Boise State University, North Idaho College and Idaho State University for new programs, backed by local employers, to train graduates for high-paying jobs. BSU will train more computer science graduates; NIC will train students in wood products manufacturing; and ISU will train more physician’s assistants.
Previously, the state workforce training fund, which is funded by a portion of unemployment taxes that businesses pay, doled out training grants to businesses to reimburse them for training workers for new jobs that would pay at least $12 an hour and provide benefits. It’s drawn criticism when big grants were paid out to businesses that then failed. Among the notable failures: The shuttered Hoku plant in Pocatello, and the Micron/Transform Solar project, which received $1.5 million in training grants before closing.
That type of grant is still being awarded; Chobani was promised $3.3 million in training grants for its new Greek yogurt plant in Twin Falls, and Frulac has been awarded a $1.2 million training grant for a new fruit processing center in Rupert.
The grants to the colleges, however, are a departure – the first for the fund since it was established in 1996. They’re part of the fund’s new Industry Sector Grant Initiative, under which grants will go to educational institutions that partner with at least three Idaho businesses to train workers in a target occupation critical to those businesses; the businesses must put up matching funds equal to at least 25 percent of the grant. So at BSU, Clearwater Analytics, Cradlepoint, Focus IP, Hewlett-Packard, Impact Sales, Keynetics, MetaGeek and WhiteCloud Analytics are providing the $310,768 in matching funds for a $1 million grant that will allow the school to double its number of computer science graduates from 30 to 60 a year. Those grads will be trained for jobs that typically pay more than $30 an hour.
At NIC, Idaho Forest Group, Potlatch Corp. and Stimson Lumber are providing the $93,679 in matching funds for a $281,036 grant; at ISU, St. Luke’s, St. Al’s, and Blue Cross of Idaho are putting up the $141,709 match for a $532,180 grant.
You can read the Idaho Department of Labor’s full announcement here about the new initiative and the three grants. More than 200 companies have received grants of more than $45 million from the workforce training fund since it started.
The Idaho Department of Labor is seeking proposals for new workforce training initiatives that bring industry and educational institutions together in a partnership to enhance Idaho workers' skills. The new Industry Sector Grant program will start out by offering three two-year grants of up to $1 million each to educational institutions that partner with at least three Idaho businesses to train workers in a target occupation critical to those businesses. The business partners must provide a 25 percent cash match to the department grant, which will come from the industry-financed Workforce Development Training Fund.
“These grants are designed to increase employment and wages by providing the kind of training that creates a pool of Idaho workers capable of meeting the demands of high-wage industries,” said Roger Madsen, department director; click below for the department's full announcement.
StateImpact Idaho reports that Transform Solar, the Nampa-based solar company partly owned by Micron Technology that plans to shut down and lay off 250 people, received a $3.6 million workforce development training grant from the state of Idaho in 2010, and has been reimbursed for a little over $1 million in training costs through the grant. StateImpact reports that the Idaho Department of Labor says when a company gets workforce training money and then closes, the hope is that those employees at least will have new skills that will help them in their next job; you can read their full report here.
Idaho Congressman Walt Minnick today unveiled job-training legislation he said he’s been crafting for the past eight months. The measure, H.R. 4072, entitled the American Manufacturing Efficiency and Retraining Investment Collaboration (AMERICA) Works Act, would route federal workforce training funds toward programs that provide “nationally portable, industry-recognized credentials,” and make other reforms to the programs without expanding their cost. It won praise from North Idaho College, the Northwest Carpenters and the National Association of Manufacturers, whose senior vice president, Emily DeRocco, said it would “help ensure both new and transitioning workers have the education and skills necessary to succeed in the 21st century manufacturing economy.” You can read Minnick’s full news release on the bill here; the Democratic freshman has three cosponsors so far, all fellow Democrats.