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Batt Announces Job Training Grants Harpers, Agency One Among Companies Getting Money To Upgrade Employee Skills

Eric Torbenson Staff writer

Idaho Gov. Phil Batt announced more recipients of his new job training program Saturday, and two North Idaho companies are among the beneficiaries.

Post Falls furniture maker Harpers Inc. and Coeur d’Alene software firm Agency One will use Workforce Development Training Fund dollars to upgrade the skills of employees.

Harpers will use $200,000 to train 100 new welders, brake and punch-press operators.

The firm, recruited from Southern California to North Idaho in 1993, employs about 400 people and looks to expand with a new product line. Substantial job training money was a major factor in getting Harpers to come to Post Falls.

Agency One will use $148,120 to train 75 sales employees. The firm makes software for insurance offices and employs about 75 people currently.

The first three recipients of the program announced in October 1996 are American Microsystems Inc. of Pocatello, Lockheed Martin Idaho Technologies of Idaho Falls and Sandpoint’s Coldwater Creek, which recently expanded to Coeur d’Alene.

The program will divert up to $3 million of unemployment insurance premiums each year to use for job training. The program uses no tax dollars, and Batt hopes it will help Idaho’s companies remain competitive.

To qualify for the program, companies need to add or preserve at least five full-time positions with a starting salary of at least $6 an hour, plus benefits. The companies provide 25 percent in matching funds or in-kind contributions to the program.

“These jobs will be good for Idaho and they’ll boost the Kootenai County economy,” Batt said in a release Saturday.


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