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.
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.
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.
For Immediate Release: Nov. 2, 2018 Information Contact: John Russ, (208) 332-3570 ext. 3303 or Georgia Smith, (208) 332-3570 ext. 2102
Idaho Celebrates Apprenticeship Week Nov. 12-18
Idaho apprenticeship programs and apprentices are on the rise across Idaho and the nation. As the number of Idaho businesses sponsoring apprenticeships more than doubled from 2016 to 2018, the number of registered apprentices increased 67 percent.
Idaho Department of Labor Director Melinda Smyser attributes the increase to more Idaho training centers, technical schools, community colleges and institutions delivering industry-specific instruction, technical education and other certified training through Registered Apprenticeships in a variety of ways.
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.
by Idaho Department of Labor Director Melinda S. Smyser
Not too long ago, St. Mary’s Hospital in Cottonwood found itself in need of a medical lab scientist. After searching eight months for a qualified applicant, hospital officials worked with their local Idaho Department of Labor office to develop a registered apprenticeship program. Today the program is working so well St. Mary’s plans to set up a second apprenticeship for the same skill set.
As I meet with Idaho employers, they tell me they all have one thing in common with St. Mary’s Hospital. They need a pipeline of skilled workers with industry-specific training and hands-on experience.
Registered apprenticeships are a proven strategy for successfully building that pipeline and benefits both businesses and job seekers. Most employers see reduced turnover costs, greater employee retention, increased productivity and an average of $1.05 returned for every dollar they invest in their employees.
Apprentices benefit by on-the-job training and earn while they learn, reducing student debt. They see increased opportunities for promotion and higher wages over the course of their careers. Nationally, nine out of 10 find themselves gainfully employed at an average starting salary of $60,000 per year, and over the course of their careers, earn $300,000 more than their non-apprenticed peers.
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
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.