Labor Department Staff Recognized with Outstanding Service Award

Five Idaho Department of Labor employees were recently recognized with Outstanding Service Awards.

Nominated by fellow staff members, these exceptional employees were chosen based on the extra care they put into their work and their drive to improve the communities where they live and work.

“It is obvious to me our employees care deeply about their work, the people they work with and their communities, well beyond any normal requirements or expectations,” said Director Ken Edmunds.

bonnie nilesBonnie Niles of the Kootenai County local office received the top employee of the year award and was chosen for outstanding service.

“Surprised, humbled and embarrassed was my reaction when Ken Edmunds called,” Niles said. “Knowing my very own dedication and inspiration comes from working alongside a group of equally devoted and talented individuals made it even that much more disconcerting.”

In addition to carrying a full caseload, Niles helps young people find jobs by working with them on job applications, resumes and interviewing techniques.

She was instrumental in securing a grant of more than $6 million for North Idaho College and serves on the CNA (certified nursing assistant) advisory committee. As a result of her efforts, a customer service class for health care workers is now offered locally for CNA students, and the same curriculum was recently added to the Health Unit Coordinator training.

According to her co-workers, Niles has strong business connections and helps employers understand the importance of paying competitive wages as a way of controlling employee turnover costs.

She coordinated the creation of a millwright apprenticeship program with a local company and continuously encourages employers within the community to adopt apprenticeship programs.

With health care being a passion for Niles, she recently worked with a local rural middle school with a high population of disadvantaged youth to enhance healthcare education in hopes of sparking an interest in the health care field at an earlier age.

Outstanding Service Award Winners

Vicki Isakson, Kootenai County local office

vicki isaksonIsakson goes above and beyond to make sure that morale is high and people’s needs are met.

Isakson was recognized for her efforts in meeting the needs of job seekers in the community, whether it is support with finances, food or transportation. She coordinated the Hard Hats, Hammers and Hot Dogs event that provided information to high school students to better prepare them for careers in the industry.

Isakson’s honesty and integrity make her as an example for others to follow. She believes in empowering her staff so they can reach higher and do more to better serve all customers.

Katie Taylor, Pocatello local office

katie taylorKatie Taylor was nominated four separate times for the department’s Outstanding Service Award, with several common attributes: integrity, unbiased and caring.

According to her coworkers, Taylor is honest and has a high level of integrity. She treats all customers with the same unbiased and friendly consideration.

“She will not ask you to do something she is not willing to do herself,” a coworker stated.

Lance Kaldor, Meridian local office

lance kaldorLance Kaldor was nominated three times for his Outstanding Service Award.

He routinely visits high schools to speak with students about job searches and resume building, helps others with presentations and works with many outside agencies such as the Idaho Commission for the Blind. He also freely gives his time to several community needs: cancer awareness, suicide prevention and veterans’ services.

“I have always been impressed with Lance’s positivity and endless energy. I know he is doing great things for the Idaho Department of Labor,” one of his co-workers commented.

 Melissa Gray, Idaho Commission on Human Rights

Another recipient, Melissa Gray, received high praises from one of her co-workers.

“Melissa is an unsung hero of our department,” read the nomination form. “Even though her time is split between three different functions, she is never behind or seems frazzled by this juggling act.”

Melissa is viewed as providing support for her co-workers and a “go to” person for questions. She always has an answer.

“Melissa always has a kind, encouraging word for her team members and is patient when she is interrupted with questions. She not only has this high standard for herself, she expects this of our team, making everyone better.”

–Tabitha Bower,