Monthly Archives: March 2014

Workforce Program Gives Grangeville Woman Confidence

rebekah-gulottaI was desperate for work when I contacted the Grangeville Idaho Department of Labor office over a year ago. I had been volunteering at a camp all summer and it had been more than six months since I had a ‘paying job.’ My family had just moved to town and I had applied to several places for work for a couple months with no results.

I met my new workforce consultant, Nicolle Long, for an ‘interview’ where we talked about my past experiences, what my goals were and what kind of job I was looking for. Soon after I was accepted in the Workforce Investment Act program, I received a call about a job possibility at my local library and we scheduled an interview.  It went well and I started working about a week later. It was a great fit! Not only did the department find me a part-time job, but the Labor staff helped me step into a second part-time job a couple months later!

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March Economic Activity

Idaho department of labor county developments

The following is a roundup of regional economic news compiled by the Idaho Department of Labor in March.


Benewah, Bonner, Boundary, Kootenai & Shoshone counties

County Developments

Bonner County

  • Quest Aircraft Co., the Sandpoint-based manufacturer of the Kodiak light airplane, has selected Parkwater Aviation of Spokane to provide flight-training services for commercial buyers of the Kodiak. Parkwater Aviation, which has four employees, is a newly formed for-profit subsidiary of nonprofit Spokane Turbine Center, which is based at Felts Field in Spokane.
  • Bonner General Hospital broke ground on a 400,000-square-foot building adjacent to the current hospital. The new medical office building is filling the steadily climbing demand for services in the diagnostic imaging and rehabilitation departments. Last summer, a doctor opened a psychiatric clinic, adding a service the hospital had not offered in the past. More recently there has been the addition of the Wound Care Center.

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Changing Colleges? Four Things to Consider Before Making a Move

If you are student who is thinking about changing colleges, you need to think about the costs in time, money and college credits before you decide to switch.

Why transfer?

transferring-collegesStudents switch colleges midway through their education for many reasons. Sometimes it may be simply a matter of continuing from a two-year school to a four-year school or pursuing a program of study that isn’t offered at their original college of choice.

Other times there is a financial or personal situation that necessitates a move to a school closer to home. And finally, sometimes students change schools because they may be in the wrong college, city or region of the country or realize they don’t want to attend a large college or live in a small town.

 Money matters

Changing colleges can be costly, even if the school the student wants to transfer to participates in Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE). Under this program undergraduate Idaho students who meet academic requirements may enroll in a participating state institution in other Western states at a reduced tuition rate.

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Getting the Job: Tips from a Hiring Manager

Susan Wheeler, chief of staff for Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, shares tips and insights from a hiring manager’s perspective about looking for a job. A version of that post is printed here with her permission.

Susan Wheeler, Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo's chief of staff

Susan Wheeler, chief of staff for Idaho Senator Mike Crapo.

To my young friends who may soon be or are currently looking for a job (and maybe to some of my older friends, too): In the past few months, I have had the opportunity to hire for three positions and feel compelled to share these observations. Pardon the soapbox.

1) Read the job description. If it is really a position you want or think you are qualified for, please apply. If you are just shooting out resumes in the dark, hoping something sticks, you will be shooting for a LONG time. If you don’t fit the qualifications, please respect the employer enough to not submit your resume. Spend your time working on applying for positions you want, not just any position that gets your foot in the door of where you “sorta wanna be” soon.

2) Only submit the materials requested. Don’t submit a writing sample if none is requested. Write a cover letter. Take all opportunities to sell yourself, but don’t presume you are more special than anyone else and submit your master’s thesis or your article published at The Heritage Foundation UNLESS you are asked to do so.

3) Recognize your resume has a dollar value equal to what you want to make at that position. If the job pays $30K or $50K or whatever, that’s how much that paper is worth. Treat it appropriately. Spell words correctly. Use punctuation properly. Keep it succinct. I have never been impressed by a resume over three pages; actually, I’ve never read to the third page of a resume. You have lost me by then.

4) It is entirely possible your resume will look very similar to everyone else’s. This is not advice to print on pink paper or use creative fonts. Rather, put something on your resume that makes you interesting. It could be a hobby, an assigned work responsibility, an educational experience—just find something that makes you memorable, i.e. the girl who played lacrosse, the guy who was the lead in his high school play, that sort of thing.

5) A cover letter is another avenue to share why you should be considered for the job. It should not be a recitation of everything I can read on your resume. Don’t waste your second piece of paper telling me what I can already read on the first piece. And if you are given the name of someone in charge, please use it. Do everything you can to assure the person reviewing your materials that you are interested in THIS job, not A job.

6) Proofread your documents. And then proofread them again. And then proofread them a third time. And then give them to someone else who didn’t write them and hasn’t lived with them through several drafts to proofread for you. Some mistakes can be fatal, particularly if you tell me you are detail-oriented and then misspell “public” in your “Objective” section.

7) If you are applying for a job beneath your skill or experience level, explain why I should still consider you. If you are applying for a job that you are not trained for or have limited or no experience with, please explain why I should still consider you. Don’t assume I will figure it out on my own. Use your cover letter or your email to offer more information.

8) Bugging me every day or frequently about your application or materials is not proof of persistence to me. It is proof that you will drive me crazy if you work for me.

9) Be on time and adhere to deadlines. If the application deadline is tomorrow and you just learned about the opening, it isn’t my problem. It is yours. If you cannot be on time for an interview, get an explanation to the interviewer as soon as possible.

10) Know something about the company or organization. There is a vast amount of information out there. I don’t expect you to be an expert about my organization, but I do expect you to know something about it, enough to know that you want to work HERE.

11) If you get an interview, send a thank you note. In fact, you could just have the note with you. Finish the interview, step into the hallway and write the note, and then hand it to the front office staff or drop it in the mail. It is just good manners.

12) Do not just drop by to check on the process or for a short interview. That demonstrates a lack of respect for my schedule and my time. I rarely meet with someone who just drops by.

Jobs are hard to come by these days. Good bosses are hard to come by most of the time. Most good bosses will want you to come prepared to an interview, be interested in the job and have confidence in your abilities. And, they will want some evidence that you care about their time. All of that starts with a piece of paper or two that you most likely email to someone you haven’t met. Looking for a job is considerably easier when you take a little time and care about where you apply and what you apply for.

Climbing down from the soap box now.

More Idahoans Pursuing Education after High School

Education and the workplace are increasingly linked. Employers want better-trained workers. Workers want better-paying jobs.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, one of every four adults had a college degree in Idaho in 2012, a significant increase in the last generation. But the educational level of adults nationwide has been rising at a much greater rate since 1980.

At the same time, nearly 61 percent of Idaho adults including college graduates had obtained education beyond high school, an increase of nearly two thirds since 1980. But while that was three percentage points higher than the nation, the number of adults with postsecondary education has risen 80 percent since 1980.

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FAQ Friday – How Can Employers Manage Unemployment Insurance Online?

Q: What online services are available for employers to manage unemployment insurance?

A: Employers can respond to benefit claim requests, report and pay their unemployment insurance taxes and report new hires online, anytime.

Screen Shot 2014-02-18 at 10.44.31 AMQ: How can I respond to claim requests electronically?

A: When former employees file claims for unemployment insurance employers can be notified electronically so they can provide a time-sensitive initial response. Two options are available depending on the size and type of your business.

E-Response is an online exchange system for small business with fewer than 100 employees. Employers receive email notices for any employee-reported separations and benefit claims filed against their business. Each notice includes a website address and personal identification number (PIN) for responding electronically. An online manual is available to guide you through the E-Response enrollment process.

SIDES Data Exchange is an online data exchange system for large businesses with more than 100 employees, state agencies and third party payroll administrators. Report separation information, verify earnings and review potential fees. Save money with faster and more accurate determinations, fewer improper payments and by sharing data between states. Visit the SIDES website for more information or watch a video about using SIDES.

To determine which of the two services would be best for your business, view or download the SIDES and SIDES E-Response Comparison Table.

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FAQ Friday – What Are the Best Sources of Occupational Information?

occupational outlookFor 66 years, Americans have relied on the Occupational Outlook Handbook when making decisions about their future careers. Since 1948, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has published a new version of the handbook every two years.  Since the mid-1990s, the book has been published online. 

In December, the bureau unveiled the 2014-15 publication. For the next two years, when you read articles or hear presentations about occupations in the U.S., the information will likely be based on the handbook. It is the ultimate source of information about tasks, conditions of work, wages, outlook, skills and training for hundreds of occupations. 

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Apprenticeships Can Launch Careers

Employers and people who want rewarding careers are taking a second look at a historic training method that may solve some 21st century problems. Several states believe apprenticeship programs can help them compete globally, and European nations using apprenticeships have lower youth unemployment rates.

With soaring tuition keeping young people out of school and employers finding it hard to hire skilled workers, apprenticeships are gaining traction during this time of rapid technological change and intense global competition. This time-honored method of training gives today’s workforce entrants 21st century skills without incurring debt. They earn while they learn the things they actually use on the jobs, and they see theory put into practice.

Under the eye of mentors, apprentices learn on the job and in class. In many cases, the education in a highly skilled field is free. Apprentices work from two to six years – usually about four – to become journeymen certified as competent in all major aspects of their occupations. Continue reading

Comparing Idaho Jobs by Sector Pre- and Post-Recession

The Great Recession is still fresh in many minds. Unemployment and underemployment are still realities both nationwide and in Idaho.

And even though unemployment has been falling, the structure of Idaho’s economy and job market has changed since the expansion of the mid-2000s.

Like the rest of the nation, Idaho saw manufacturing jobs decline 12 percent from 2006 to 2013. Nationally the loss was 16 percent, and Idaho’s performance may be the result of the significance of agricultural processing in its manufacturing sector. There has been a boom in dairy processing in south central Idaho over the last few years, and food manufacturing continues to have an important presence in other regions as well. Continue reading