Category Archives: Job Seekers

A Little Help from Labor Makes a Big Difference in Life of Ex-Offender

Marcos Soto

A year ago Marcos Soto was working as a helper/grinder in a welding shop. This low paying, labor intensive job was the only type of job he had ever held.

Soto, now 42 years old, was recently released from prison after eight-and-a-half years. He wanted to find a better job but knew his status as a felon wasn’t the only way his job possibilities were limited. He wanted to become a welder but without training, hands-on experience and enough practice, he would not be able to pass the exams so he could earn the required certifications.

As much as Soto wanted to get ahead, he simply was not able to do so on his own. His small salary made it too difficult to save up the $3,000 needed to enroll in the welder fabrication courses provided by Pro-Weld Welding School in Nampa.

Luckily, a friend referred Soto to the Idaho Department of Labor where he met with Michael LeDuc, a workforce consultant in the Boise office. LeDuc met with Soto and told him about the Workforce and Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) program and found Soto also qualified for job training assistance from Vocational Rehabilitation. Soto said he was thrilled to find out he qualified for a grant which covered the cost of the welding classes and paid for enough tools to get him started.

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Apprenticeships Go Beyond the Traditional Focus

Apprenticeships are no longer just for traditional trade and craft occupations like brick masons or bakers. Today’s apprenticeships have expanded to include careers in many fields such as information technology and health care.

With this change in apprenticeship opportunities comes additional flexibility for the employer as well. When an employer registers an apprenticeship in Idaho, the employer has the flexibility to customize the training and curriculum offered to help meet the company’s specific needs.

As the popularity of apprenticeships in Idaho grows, so too does the list of unusual opportunities. Here are a few of the apprenticeships the Idaho Department of Labor has recently registered.

Certified financial planner
Figure 8 Investment Strategies

Certified financial planner apprentices (pictured from left) Richard Naing, Taylor Reed and Serpil Rawson (on far right) enjoy learning from Figure 8 Investment Strategies President & Founder Lisa Cooper (pictured left of Serpil). Figure 8 Investment Strategies is located in Boise.

Figure 8 Investments in Boise hired three people to apprentice as certified financial planners in May. This is the first time a certified financial planner apprenticeship has been registered in Idaho. The employer has estimated it will take about four years to complete the 4,000 – 6,000 hours of training and instruction needed before the apprentices are prepared to take the CFP exam. This apprenticeship has been set up as a hybrid which involves both on-the-job training and curriculum provided by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc.

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Workforce Development Training Fund Grant Helps Meet Demand for Radiation Safety Technicians

A $96,000 Workforce Development Training grant has helped Eastern Idaho Technical College (EITC) restart its Radiation Safety Training program. This grant is not only helping the college to resupply the workforce pipeline with qualified technicians needed to replace the aging workforce as they retire but is also making a difference in the lives of the people enrolled in this program by providing a low-cost training option that translates to high wages.

The program, which consists of two semesters in the classroom and an eight-week summer internship, prepares students to become radiation control technicians. The students perform a critical function at the Idaho National Laboratory and other Department of Energy (DOE) sites by monitoring and controlling radiation levels at the worksite to help ensure the safety of the people who work there. “The only other place to offer any kind of radiation safety training in this area is in Washington and they don’t teach the radiation contact information needed at DOE sites,” said Mahlon Heileson, radiation safety program instructor.

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Don’t Overlook the Importance of Mock Interviews

mock interview

Idaho Department of Labor workforce consultants serve as career coaches for a job seeker during a mock interview.

They say a great resume will help you get your foot in the door, but it’s how well you handle the interview which determines if you actually get offered the job.

Beth Larson and Katie Taylor, workforce consultants in the Idaho Department of Labor’s Pocatello office, often recommend and perform mock interviews for job seekers. “If you’ve gone on more than four job interviews but have not received a job offer, you may need to ask for help in the form of a mock interview,” Larson said. Larson and Taylor shared the top reasons any job seeker will benefit from a mock interview:

It will help reduce your stress about an important interview.

An important job interview can be very stressful and it is exactly this type of situation which makes most people nervous and more likely to blow it. A little practice with a job coach can make all the difference. Larson and Taylor have helped to coach students who have little to no experience in the job market and need help learning how to handle an interview as well as job seekers who have not been on an interview in a few years. “There are always things we can improve upon when it comes to making a great first impression with a prospective employer,” Taylor said.

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ISU Students Pursue Medical Careers with Idaho Labor Support

At Idaho State University, several Idahoans are able to prepare for new medical careers, fill high-demand jobs and stay in Idaho with the support of the Idaho Department of Labor.

The backbone of the endeavor is a federally funded program, designed to assist eligible individuals find and qualify for meaningful employment. This in turn helps employers find skilled workers they need for success.

Matthew Ries is halfway through the Physician's Assistant program at Idaho State University's Boise campus.

Matthew Ries is one of the students attending ISU with the support of the Idaho Department of Labor.

The program is especially important to people who have lost jobs due to layoffs or business closures, or have been unemployed for a lengthy amount of time and have exhausted their unemployment benefits. It also helps adults who need assistance to find work that allows them to be self-sufficient.

For Tracy Calvert of Nampa, the program was ideal. He found himself without a job after being laid off from a 14-year career. When he heard about the program through the Department of Labor, he worked with consultant Maribel Guzman and discovered he qualified for one of the nursing program at ISU’s Meridian campus.

“This provided financial support that I wouldn’t have had without putting my family and our financial health at risk,” Calvert said. He is in the accelerated Bachelor of Science in nursing program.

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Planning A Strategy Helps Job Seekers with Success at Hiring Fairs

Laurie Nowland, human resource representative for Kootenai Health discussed the company's hiring process with job seeker Rachael Veddar.

Laurie Nowland, human resource representative for Kootenai Health discussed the company’s hiring process with job seeker Rachael Veddar.

Rachel Vedder spent the morning of a recent job fair choosing conservative business attire, collecting multiple copies of her resume and preparing for the hiring event at the Idaho Department of Labor office in Kootenai County.

By checking the local events calendar on the Department of Labor website, Vedder was able to preview the list of employers who were attending the event. This gave her the opportunity to do some research in advance. Information about a company and the job listings also can be found at the company website. Checking business publications, chamber websites and news articles gave her a firm knowledge of the employer and the industry.

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Idaho Receives $1 Million to Connect Job Seekers with Workforce Services

The Idaho Department of Labor was awarded a $1.09 million U.S. Department of Labor grant to improve the process of connecting dislocated workers, unemployment insurance claimants, the long-term unemployed and other job seekers to all available services.

Idaho is one of more than 40 states and territories receiving funds from the Reemployment & Systems Integration National Dislocated Worker Grants to provide seed money for solutions to improving connectivity.

Read more details in the full news release.