Idaho business and labor leaders, educational institutions, state agencies and workforce centers will spend National Apprenticeship Week 2021 coming up with new strategies and creative ideas for tapping apprenticeships as a way to meet the talent needs of employers.
First observed in November 2015, National Apprenticeship Week celebrates the role of apprenticeship in helping workers earn while they learn and grow the economy.
Nationally, 221,000 people enrolled in one of 26,000 active registered apprenticeship programs in fiscal year 2020. Nearly 3,143 of the active programs were new. The total number of workers enrolled in reached 636,000 with more than 82,000 apprentices graduating from the system.
Idaho’s building and heavy construction businesses are being asked to help establish prevailing wage rates for their industry, as required under the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts.
The survey is not limited to federally funded construction projects and is seeking data for active building, heavy, highway and residential construction projects in all of Idaho’s metropolitan counties between Jan. 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2021.
The Davis Bacon and Related Acts directs the U.S. Department of Labor to set prevailing wage rates that reflect the actual wages and fringe benefits paid to construction workers in the county where the work takes place.
Ty Johannesen, left, and Jaiden Caviness (both from Lewiston), work together on a project using a band-saw. The two students attended training at Lewis and Clark State College over the summer.
Nezperce High School senior Joe McGuigan is one of a handful of high school students who landed a summer job with a manufacturing company after participating in an industry-based apprenticeship program. He worked for Hillco Technologies last summer, starting at $11 an hour as a summer intern, and he learned a wide variety of skill sets on the job, including driving a forklift and running machines.
There are more than 100 companies engaged in metal fabrication and manufacturing in north central Idaho – machine shops, guns and ammunition, farm equipment manufacturers and more. The workforce serving those companies is aging and nearing retirement age, and there’s a shortage of entry-level workers with the skills necessary to serve the industry.
“Manufacturing has picked up in the small communities in north central Idaho, including in Lewiston and Grangeville, and it’s tough hiring people to work in manufacturing in this area,” said Lenny Hill, McGuigan’s boss and president of Hillco Technologies.
Creating career pathways helps the medical industry and the state meet local workforce needs
A Saint Alphonsus nurse explains the proper use of gloves, to Linda Akike, and another student. (Photo courtesy of College of Western Idaho)
Linda Akike came to Boise from the Republic of Congo. She always dreamed of being a nurse, so when she heard she could enroll in a program that may lead to a full-time job at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise, she leaped at the chance.
Akike learned about a new pre-apprenticeship program offered by the Idaho Department of Labor and the College of Western Idaho (CWI) through the International Rescue Committee in Boise. The CWI class offers 80 hours of instruction and training to prepare job seekers for an Environmental Services position in health care, and potentially a full-on career in the future.
The class trains people for environmental service work in a hospital and helps people like Akike, for whom English is a second language, learn English-speaking skills and health care vocabulary terms she’ll need to know.
Just about everyone knows computer code runs the backend of computer systems, web sites, mobile apps and more.
When Ramsey Bland decided to apply for a 13-week immersion class at Boise CodeWorks, the only computer code he knew was the bar code on the side of a pizza box.
Bland, 23, had studied mechanical engineering at Boise State University for several years, but he couldn’t keep up with the cost of going to college full time. His job delivering pizza covered the rent, living expenses and college. It was a stretch.
When he applied for the CodeWorks immersion class, a super-intensive drill where he could learn how to write four computer languages in a little more than three months, he learned how to plan projects and solve complex problems as part of a team.
In-Migration Accounted for 73 Percent of Idaho’s Population Increase
Idaho’s population continued to become more urbanized from mid-2017 to mid-2018, with nearly 73 percent of the growth coming from outside the state, newly released data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows. The data provides additional detail at the county level to the January release that showed Idaho’s 2.1 percent population increase tied with Nevada as the fastest-growing state in the nation.
The Boise Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) population grew by 2.9 percent – the eighth fastest among the nation’s 383 other MSAs. The five counties that comprise the Boise MSA – Ada, Boise, Canyon, Gem and Owyhee counties – increased by 20,346 people accounting for 58 percent of the state’s total increase of 35,304. The concentration of more than half of Idaho’s growth in the Boise MSA typifies the continued steady shift toward urbanization of the state’s population from rural to urban counties.
USDOL Registered Apprenticeships have an advantage over non-registered programs and benefit job seekers and employers as follows:
National Credential – Registered Apprenticeship graduates receive a national, industry-recognized credential that is portable and stackable.
Quality Standards – Registration means the program meets national and independent standards for quality and rigor. Registration tells prospective employees, customers and suppliers a business invests in its workforce and believes employees are its most important asset.
High Quality and Safe Working Conditions – Emphasis on program safety may reduce worker compensation costs.
Technical Assistance and Support – Businesses that register their apprenticeship programs with USDOL receive access to a nationwide network of expertise, customer service and support at no charge for program sponsors.
Tax Credits – In some states, businesses qualify for state-based tax credits related to apprenticeship programs. Employers may also be able to claim some expenses for training as a federal tax credit.
Federal Resources – Businesses and apprentices can access funding and other resources from many federal programs to help support their Registered Apprenticeship programs, including Pell Grants and the GI Bill.
Contact Bill Kober, (208) 321-2973 or (208) 703-3782 for more information.
Safe, plentiful and affordable drinking water, environmentally sound wastewater treatment, and the people who maintain the systems – are some of Idaho’s most precious resources and something many people take for granted.
“We are encouraging our 120 members to plan for the future,” explained Kelsie Cole, apprenticeship coordinator for the Idaho Rural Water Association. “More than half the professionals who oversee or operate Idaho’s drinking water and wastewater facilities are within 10 years or less of retirement. One-third are more than 55 years old. Another 30 percent are over age 45.”
Cole’s job is to meet the demand for future operators by pairing quality job candidates with a new statewide apprenticeship program involving 120 Idaho cities and communities that operate drinking water and wastewater systems throughout the state.
The Association is using a $30,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to recruit job candidates interested in a career managing Idaho’s drinking water or wastewater systems. What they need is more Idaho cities and communities willing to step up and offer the on-the-job training component of the apprenticeship program.