Between 2004 and 2014 private educational services grew significantly in Idaho. During that decade educational services added more than 2,200 jobs – an increase of 54 percent.
The sector includes both profit and nonprofit businesses that provide education and training – private elementary and high schools, colleges, professional schools, automobile driving schools, tutoring businesses and fine arts academies. Public, government-operated educational institutions are not included.
Private colleges, universities and professional schools in Idaho saw employment jump 270 percent – nearly 800 – between 2004 and 2014. This represented the bulk of the sector’s growth and compared to just 23 percent growth nationally.
Students with federal work-study jobs were not included, especially through the recession, so any increase in that form of educational support is not responsible for the dramatic increase in private education employment.
A contributing factor could be Idaho’s growing population. Between 2004 and 2014 Idaho’s population grew 17.5 percent – more than 240,000 people – to 1.63 million. Fewer than 4,000 of those were between ages 20 and 24, the typical age for college.
The most likely reason is the lower-than-average education attainment of Idaho’s workforce. According to the Census Bureau 25.1 percent of Idaho adult population had a bachelor’s degree in 2013 compared with 28.8 percent nationally.
Private education providers may have seen that as an opportunity. For-profit schools like Broadview University, the University of Phoenix, Brown Mackie College, Stevens-Henager College and ITT Technical Institute opened or expanded operations in Idaho. They were joined by private nonprofit institutions like McCall College and Concordia School of Law in Boise.
Regardless of the cause, growth in private postsecondary education employment in Idaho has boosted the economy overall and provided options for a greater number of Idahoans seeking more education. A better educated workforce will benefit Idaho’s economic future.
regional economist (208) 236-6710 ext. 3713