After the recession forced Idaho Forest Group to curtail operations and layoff workers, the company received $378,400 in Idaho Workforce Development Training Funds to recover 126 of skilled workers lost during the downturn, at an average wage of $13.68 per hour.
Idaho Forest Group employees received training in safety, quality monitoring, time management, work organization, teamwork, communications, problem solving and lean manufacturing and processes.
“Although some are industry-specific, all of these skills are valued by the majority of employers,” said Beti Becker, vice president of human resources for Idaho Forest Group. “Some employees are novices with little experience. These skills are a foundation to build on for their careers.”
Today, newly hired entry level employees at Idaho Forest Group advance from $12 to $14 within 90 days, and from there, continue to advance to an average wage of $18. Employees who pursue additional skills such as industrial mechanics and electricians can earn $25 to $32 per hour.
“Although the economy has recovered, state workforce training funds allowed for industry specific training in technical, electrical, mechanical and industrial equipment operation that would not have otherwise been feasible due to costs,” Becker said. “It also allowed us to train a broader segment of our workforce in the principles of lean manufacturing.”