For Immediate Release: Nov. 9, 2020
Media Contact: Gina Robison, Gina@Robison@labor.idaho.gov
Nov. 8-14 – National Apprenticeship Week
A team of state agencies is using more than $5.8 million in federal grants to foster growth and expansion of registered apprenticeships as a solution for Idaho businesses struggling to find a skilled workforce.
State agencies involved in the partnership include the Idaho Department of Labor (ApprenticeshipIdaho), the Idaho Workforce Development Council and the Idaho Division of Career Technical Education. Idaho employers are represented by the Idaho Business Education Council.
Registered apprenticeships provide a high-quality career path that allows employers to develop a skilled workforce customized to meet their needs.
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.
Idaho is one of 37 recipients that will use a $1.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to expand registered apprenticeships throughout the state in health care, information technology, advanced manufacturing and energy.
Earlier this year the state received a $200,000 planning grant to develop a strategy.
“Idaho businesses are calling for a pipeline of skilled workers with industry-specific training and hands-on experience,” said Idaho Department of Labor Director Kenneth D. Edmunds. “This grant will allow us to help meet those needs and increase the number of registered apprenticeships throughout the state.” Continue reading
Apprenticeships and training for Idaho’s power and energy industry are on the rise.
Troy Butler, a field service leader with Idaho Power, directly attributes his career success to the five-year apprenticeship program he completed with Idaho Power.
“If I didn’t have the apprenticeship, I wouldn’t have become a lineman, and if I didn’t become a lineman there is no way I would have been able to become a foreman to run my own crew,” he said. “Gaining that leadership experience running my own crew gave me the tools to take over and move up to this middle management job.”
Businesses throughout Idaho, the United States and around the world are utilizing the “earn and learn” approach of apprenticeship programs. Apprenticeships combine work-based learning with related classroom instruction and are supervised by industry specialists.