Category Archives: Students

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

Innovative Program in North-Central Idaho Prepares Students for Local Manufacturing Jobs

students working on band saw

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.

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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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Engineering Careers Among Best Paid Occupations

Interested in a career building the infrastructure or machines that are the backbone of modern technology? Or working to expand that frontier? If engineering is the career path for you, it is among the best paid occupations in the nation and Idaho compared with other occupations.

Depending on the specialization, in Idaho engineers earn a median from $32 to $57 per hour. As a group, it is among the fastest growing occupations in Idaho. The field is projected to grow by almost 10 percent from 2016 to 2026, adding 1,100 jobs with another 7,400 potential job opportunities as engineers retire or leave the occupation.

Read more about engineering on the BLS website.

Learn about other career options in JobScape.

Idaho Department of Labor

Soft Skills Are Important to Getting and Keeping Your Job

You graduated… so what?

Employers are identifying a trend in their newly graduated employees— lack of soft skills. In particular, personal attributes that allow an individual to interact effectively with other people (i.e. transitional, transferable and foundational skills). Experts have also found that individuals change careers five to seven times in their lifetime. Regardless of what degree, career, field, job, or industry you go into, employers value soft skills.

Throughout my research, I have circled and come back to the soft skills employers, professional business bloggers, and labor analysts say are valued the most:

  • Communication
  • Organization
  • Team work skills
  • Punctuality
  • Critical thinking
  • Social skills
  • Creativity
  • Interpersonal communication/ cultural sensitivity
  • Adaptability
  • Problem solving
  • Conflict resolution
  • Work ethic

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Campus Tour is Important Step in Choosing a College

We all know that one person who committed to a college and a major before the start of senior year of high school. However, for the larger percentage of high school students considering a college or a four-year university, visiting a college campus can be a crucial step in making a decision.

Typically, students who are interested in post-secondary institutions fall into four different categories. First, there are those who know what post-secondary institution they will attend, but are undecided on a major. Then, there are students who know what they want to study, but not at what institution. There are those students who do not know what or where they want to study. Finally, there is that small, lucky percentage of students who know what they want to study and where.

Going to a post-secondary school is a personal and family decision based on a few factors including, location, living options, programs of study, college culture, cost, etc. Combined, all of these factors could be overwhelming to any student and her parents. Here are a few helpful tips to consider before making a cross-country trip or committing to a miss-fit for the next four years.

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Looking for Your First Job? These Resume Tips Can Get You Started

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As the school year and graduation festivities end, many graduates may find themselves without a job or direction on how to find one. Whether looking for a summer job or your first professional entry-level position, there are many things to consider when creating your resume. A resume highlights skills, accomplishments, knowledge and experiences.

Getting Started

Before creating a resume, collect all information on previous job history, educational background and skills, as well as other accomplishments that will relate to the position for which you are applying. Make sure you tailor your resume to fit each position.

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Your Future in Technology Program Expands in its Second Year

This year has seen an increase in attendance by families at the YourFIT expos.

 The Your Future in Technology (YourFIT) program has expanded this year and now provides students with the option of learning about the Diesel / On-Site Power Generation Technology program available through the College of Technology at Idaho State University.

“This particular program has a lot of interest and will help local employers who are needing to hire diesel mechanics. This is especially true of Western States Caterpillar who recently built a new facility here,” said Kandi Rudd, regional manager of the Pocatello office of the Idaho Department of Labor.

The other career focuses of the YourFit program include welding, machinist, instrumentation (controls), maintenance engineers (mechanics), nuclear operation tech, information technology (geographic information systems, computer information systems, cybersecurity), outdoor electrical and unmanned aerial systems (drones).

“The reason why we focused on these jobs is because they are high growth jobs, they are in demand and they are high paying jobs,” Rudd said.

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Hard Hats, Hammers and Hot Dogs Goes Social

Idaho Forest Group log processor

This Idaho Forest Group log processor grabs, strips and cuts logs as a student is shown the equipment controls.

A total of 400 students, more than 50 businesses and many volunteers participated in the 9th Annual Hard Hats, Hammers & Hot Dogs event in Kootenai County in early October. The career day is designed to give students exposure to manufacturing, construction, logging, truck driving, and a variety of other skilled trades.

Students toured the new North Idaho College Career and Technical Education (CTE) facility, located next to the Kootenai Technical Education Campus (KTEC) where the event was held. CTE has CAD technology, Welding, Automotive, Machine and CNC classes along with other technical programs.

After the tour, students were able to get hands-on experience operating dozers, skid steers, log processors and much more. The students also engaged in activities indoors with the idea of exposing them to the many occupational opportunities in North Idaho.

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What Powers CIS Reality Check?

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How much will the lifestyle you desire cost you every month?  How big a bite will routine bills take out of your paycheck?  Which occupations provide the kind of salary that will let you buy what you want?  Reality Check, an Idaho Career Information System tool, can help you, your students or your children understand the relationship between earnings, purchases and paying the bills.

Reality Check is helpful for students trying to understand the connection between income and expenses. A 12-item survey includes options for large monthly expenses like housing, utilities, transportation and health care. It also includes budget choices for entertainment, personal care, savings, student loan repayment and a “miscellaneous” category.  The budget figures in Reality Check are updated throughout the year and accurately indicate the current cost of living in Idaho’s six metropolitan areas: Boise, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho Falls, Lewiston, Pocatello and Twin Falls.

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