Monthly Archives: July 2016

Idaho’s International Students Make Significant Economic Impact

International student enrollment around the country has helped shore up enrollment at many colleges and universities while pumping money into local economies.

Analysis shows that sponsored foreign students add more than $98 million to Idaho’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and create as many as 1,565 jobs – 582 direct jobs in the education sector and 983 additional jobs across various industry sectors due to the indirect effect of inter-industry spending and the induced effect of household spending.

International student enrollment has been strongest at Idaho State University (ISU), but for a variety of reasons, that number may begin declining.

A March 2016 New York Times article reported tension building among some of the ISU international students, faculty and the community resulting in students leaving the area for other schools.

In addition, with the King Abdullah Scholarship Program for Saudi Arabian students announcing deep funding cuts, there is the sense that the state of Idaho could be dealing with significant financial losses in the foreseeable future.

How Many Foreign Students are in Idaho?

Open Doors Data, a database managed by the Institute of International Education in partnership with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, keeps a yearly record of all foreign students in the United States. Their records show that in spring 2015, a total of 4,592 international students were enrolled in postsecondary institutions across the state. This has not always been the case. The foreign student enrollment in the state hovered around 2,000 for several years. Following a spike in enrollment in the 2011-2012 academic year, the growth rate has – to date – increased exponentially.IS-chart-1

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Benefits of Reporting ‘Hours’ on Quarterly UI Tax Reports

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Idaho employers using the Department of Labor’s online electronic system for reporting wages can now include employee hours in their quarterly reports.

A 2014 survey of employers and other stakeholders uncovered several benefits to businesses and their employees from reporting hours such as:

  • Reducing/consolidating employer reporting requirements.
  • Reducing unemployment insurance fraud.
  • Improving corporate hiring and retention practices.
  • Helping employers set competitive wages.
  • Aligning employer demands for labor with education and workforce training initiatives.
  • Developing more effective education and training programs.
  • Greater accountability in public spending on education and training programs.
  • Providing consumer information for improved decision making.
  • Increasing knowledge and understanding about local, regional and state labor markets.

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Internships Provide Learning Opportunities, Employment

An internship is a great way for college students to get hands-on experience in their chosen field before they graduate.

“Internships serve a lot of different purposes for both the participant and the employer,” said Ricia Lasso, regional business specialist for the Idaho Department of Labor. “It gives them real-life, on-the-job experience so they can see if they’re interested in that type of work. It gives them an introduction to that particular company, and it introduces the company to potential people they can hire in the future.”

It’s also good for the student’s resume.

According to a 2012 Forbes article, those who participate in an internship had a seven out of 10 chance of being hired by the company where they interned.

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Trade Adjustment Assistance Program Provides Relief for Displaced Workers

After nearly 20 years working at a tech company, Mundy Kiester was laid off and her job was moved overseas.

MundyKiesterThe largest hurdle she faced was adjusting to the lack of income – any job she found provided less than half what she made working at her previous employer.

Following her layoff, Kiester applied for Trade Adjustment Assistance through the Idaho Department of Labor. TAA is a federal program for retraining employees who were laid off because their jobs were moved overseas. The program provides training and reemployment services, job search assistance, relocation assistance and weekly monetary benefits when state unemployment benefits are exhausted.

According to a survey conducted in 2014 by the Employment and Training Administration, 77 percent of TAA participants found employment within six months. Since 2014, the program has served more than 2,210,934 workers nationally.

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Eliminating Gossip and Negativity in the Workplace

Does one bad apple really spoil the barrel? Scientifically, yes. The rotten apple gives off ethylene, speeding the ripening of all the other apples in the barrel.

In the office setting, be aware the negative influence of the one – the bad apple – in a group could prove to be the undoing of the entire group that would otherwise, without the negative influence, remain content. Negativity in the workplace can decrease morale and productivity, and increase stress and turnover.

This topic was explored by Natalie Forsyth Walters at a recent Kootenai County Partners in Business meeting. Gossip, she contends, builds distrust. In its most destructive form it could be characterized as malicious harassment or character assassination.

There are people who see the world in a negative light and persist in spreading negativity. The good news is that people can change when you and the culture change. Here are some tips and tools from Walters to make that happen.

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North Idaho College to Use $25,000 Micro-Grant for Aviation Industry Training

North Idaho College plans to use a $25,000 Idaho Department of Labor micro-grant to train 28 aviation assemblers and mechanic assistants beginning this summer.

Initially, training will be offered to high school seniors who want to work in the industry after graduation. The first of two courses will take place this July and the second in July 2017 at Sandpoint High School. Training will include a combination of online courses and classroom laboratory settings. Those who complete the assembler course in the summer following graduation will be eligible for employment.

Read more details in the full news release.

Changes in Workforce Participation Composition Perplexing

There are many indicators of economic health, but perhaps none as perplexing to economists in recent years as the “labor force participation rate.” This rate measures the percentage of the available population which is either working or looking for work. The general purpose of the statistic is to answer the question, “of the people who could work, what percentage of them are in the workforce?” The definition of “available” has many conditions – one can’t be in prison nor the military, nor be on disability and must be above the age of 16.

For reasons not yet clear, the labor force participation rate has been experiencing a significant decline in recent years. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates the overall participation rate has decreased from 66 percent in 2004 to only 62.9 percent in 2014; a change that amounts to nearly eight million people who opted out of work.

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