Category Archives: Job Seekers

Kooskia Veteran Finds Support, Job Opportunities through Idaho Labor

head and shoulders photo of Keith Robeson

Keith Robeson

Keith Robeson is not one to give up. One example? The 40-something Kooskia man did not want to leave the Army despite his injuries that have wreaked havoc on his mind and body. Today? He just wants to work, which led to a meeting with Monica Jones, a workforce consultant at the Idaho Department of Labor’s Orofino local office, in February.

“I started out with Voc Rehab (Idaho Department of Vocational Rehabilitation) in Orofino,” Robeson said. Through them, he was able to have a spinal cord stimulator implanted to combat his debilitating chronic back pain.

“I got a lot of my ability back. I was feeling good and able again,” Robeson said. And he was ready to get to work. Voc Rehab referred him to the Idaho Department of Labor. That’s when Jones came into the picture.

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Idaho Job Corps to Host Community Night Nov. 4

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: Oct. 29, 2020
Media Contact: Tina Polishchuk, Tina.Polishchuk@labor.idaho.gov

Idaho youth between ages 16-24 who are looking for skills training and a job are invited to attend a Nov. 4 dinner at the Idaho Centennial Job Corps campus in Nampa and are encouraged to bring someone with them.

“Everyone knows someone who can benefit from the Idaho Job Corps program,” said Courtney Hudnall, student placement supervisor.

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Idaho Labor Program Helps Support Food Bank, Interfaith Sanctuary During COVID-19

Overwhelmed food banks, pantries and shelters across the state have found some help from the Idaho Department of Labor’s work experience program, and now more than 15 people across the state are working at various locations, learning job skills and helping people in need while earning a paycheck.

The idea was formulated when the Idaho Office of Emergency Management (OEM) contacted the Labor Department looking for solutions to replace Idaho National Guard members who had been helping food bank workers keep up with increased demand at pickup sites because of COVID-19.

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State-run Idaho Job Corps Sets Students Up for Success

student cutting board

Hunter, a Job Corps student, cuts a board to be used for a bed built during a community service project.

Ben wanted to pursue a college education, but couldn’t afford the tuition. That all changed when he enrolled in a state-run Idaho Job Corps program which focuses on helping low-income youth obtain higher education or on-the-job training.

“I’ve always been interested in chemistry and I never would have been able to afford college if I hadn’t come here,” Ben said. “I’m going for a chemistry degree at the College of Western Idaho, and I’m going to finish my degree at Boise State or BYU.

Ben enrolled in Idaho’s new state-run Job Corps program thanks to a three-year, $17.7 million U.S. Department of Labor grant to the Idaho Department of Labor, which restructured the program and now manages the Nampa facility.

“Our goal is to provide every student with a job and an hourly living wage of at least $16 by the time they graduate,” said Labor Director Jani Revier. “Depending on individual needs, students can enroll in the program for anywhere between three to 24 months.”

Joining Ben are 44 more students who are currently enrolled in the program. Twenty-six more will start Wednesday, Feb. 5. Idaho Job Corps Manager Tina Polishchuk, Ed.D., expects enrollment to reach 150 students by the end of 2020. 

Idaho Job Corps staff are recruiting students by contacting high school counselors, social service agencies, through word of mouth, social media and by offering free campus tours on Wednesdays. Plans are for the pilot program to expand during years two and three by engaging in partnerships with community colleges in Twin Falls, Idaho Falls and Coeur d’Alene.

“We plan to serve an additional 50 students at each remote location, starting with the College of Southern Idaho and North Idaho College,” said Polishchuk. “Our goal is to have finalized agreements by the end of February.” Continue reading

Idaho Apprenticeships Help Meet the Demand for Health Care Workers

Creating career pathways helps the medical industry and the state meet local workforce needs
nurse and two students at table

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.

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CodeWorks Program Prepares Students for Real-World Jobs

Photo courtesy CodeWorks

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.

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Rural Idaho Seeks Apprentices for Maintaining Sewer, Water Systems

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.

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Keeping Job Search Skills Up to Date Helps with Promotions, Too

Keeping your job search skills up to date can be an advantage when it comes time to consider a promotional opportunity. One manufacturer in north central Idaho recognized the value of supporting its staff in this endeavor and recently reached out to the Idaho Department of Labor to ask for assistance.

The human resource department contacted Labor’s Lewiston business services staff to see if the local office offered resume and interviewing workshops for people who are currently employed. Periodically the company opens its production supervisor position as an internal promotional opportunity to line staff. However, providing a resume and being interviewed are part of the process and the company found some staff unable to provide a polished resume targeting leadership and transferrable skills and work history. In addition, these applicants fared poorly when it came to providing quality answers to behavioral-based questions in the interview.

Labor staff offered to come onsite and lead a workshop tailored to meet this employer’s specific needs. Using the production supervisor job listing and information about the application and hiring process, workforce consultant Diane Hairston built an hourlong workshop to provide tips and tools for creating a targeted resume as well as a method for preparing for behavioral-based questions in a promotional interview.

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Pre-apprenticeship Program Offers Opportunity for Refugees, Fills Workforce Gap for Saint Alphonsus

After a year of planning, a new program at Saint Alphonsus that prepares individuals for an environmental services technician (EVS) apprenticeship kicked off in September.

The free EVS Pre-apprenticeship Program at Saint Alphonsus in Boise and Nampa started as a conversation in August 2017 involving Saint Alphonsus, the Idaho Hospital Association and the Idaho Department of Labor.

The hospital was having difficulty filling EVS technician positions. These techs provide a vital function, ensuring hospitals are safe, clean and infection-free. Among other duties, they are trained to safely collect, store and dispose of hazardous materials.

Labor workforce consultant Ofelia Morales and representatives of the College of Western Idaho (CWI) Workforce Development and the Boise office of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), met with Saint Alphonsus’ EVS program staff to discuss the issue.

“Each of the partners has pieces to share,” Morales said. The Department of Labor helps with the cost of the apprenticeship for qualifying individuals through the federal Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act program. “IRC has case managers, CWI offers the class and Saint Alphonsus offers the jobs,” Morales said. The first pre-apprenticeship class has been funded and managed through the ESL Pathways Program at CWI.

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Young Man Finds Opportunity in the U.S. Through Idaho Labor Program

Peter Moats is funny, resilient and a true survivor, says Debi Middlekoop, workforce consultant at the Idaho Department of Labor in Moscow.

The 21-year-old Peter was born in China and was abandoned at a young age. A woman who became “Grandma” found him alone in a city of more than 8 million people in the South China province of Guangdong. With her help, the two lived on the streets for a few years. When Grandma became ill, she took Peter to an orphanage where he stayed for a few more years until he learned Grandma had died.

Peter’s story took several twists and turns over the years before he ended up in Idaho where he eventually connected with Middlekoop and Monica Jones at the Department of Labor and he began to see some of his dreams become reality.

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