Josh Florea was 24 when Welco of Idaho closed its Naples cedar mill in December 2009. He had worked there since he was 19 and now needed a new career path.
Josh knew he wanted a career in law enforcement and applied to POST (Peace Officers Standard Training) Academy.
When he was not accepted for enrollment, Josh went back to the drawing board and came up with a new plan. In early 2010 workers laid off from Welco became eligible to apply for Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) to assist with retraining and re-employment.
Josh decided to enroll in the Criminal Justice program at North Idaho College, which he did with funding through the Workforce Investment Act program and the TAA program. He has three classes to take before graduating with his AS in Criminal Justice and tries to fit the classes in when he has time.
While attending school, he also needed a job and met with Bonners Ferry workforce consultant Janice Panell.
“Without Janice’s encouragement and support I really would not be where I am today,” Josh said. “Janice worked really hard to help me achieve my goals and gain success. For that I am forever grateful.”
Josh decided to look for work as a probation officer or in the detention setting – something that he could do and that would benefit his career while continuing his education. In November 2011 a detention deputy position in Bonner County opened, and Josh was one of 5 (out of 72) to get an interview.
Josh was hired by Bonner County in early 2012. He reapplied and was accepted to the POST Academy which he completed in June 2012.
Today, Josh loves his work as a detention deputy and when asked what advice he would give other job seekers, he said “Be proactive. Take advantage of training and workshops. Apply for different kinds of programs to see what kind of help you can get and what is available to you.
“If you are serious, the end result is not just finding a job, but a career, and something that you enjoy. I strongly encourage others to use the resources of the Department of Labor. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and speak with consultants because they are there to help and are very welcoming and knowledgeable.”
— Summer MacDonald, Bonners Ferry office manager, contributor