Tag Archives: idaho

OPINION: Apprenticeships help solve Idaho’s labor challenges

Friday November 12, 2021

By Governor Brad Little

The “Now Hiring” and “Help Wanted” job postings are everywhere.

Idaho’s economy is booming, and jobs are readily available, but some employers still cannot fill jobs with the skilled workers they need.

The labor market challenges are multifaceted, but employers across the state have one thing in common – they need a pipeline of workers with industry-specific training and hands-on experience.

The good news is that through apprenticeships – a proven career pathway Idaho is strongly pursuing to build our pool of skilled workers – employers can create a sustainable talent pipeline with employees that receive extensive education and training in one of more than 1,200 occupations in Idaho.

Next week is National Apprenticeship Week. Apprenticeships offer a win-win for employees and employers.

Employees get on-the-job training and classroom instruction specifically designed for the career they choose, along with opportunities to advance. Apprentices learn while they earn a certification, gain practical experience, start working immediately, and receive built-in mentoring and support.

Employers get an immediate employee more likely to stay in the job, reducing turnover costs and improving employee retention and productivity. It is an excellent return on investment.

Idaho jumped on new resources that connect employers to apprentices.

One new program will align apprenticeship with degree programs at Idaho’s postsecondary and workforce training institutions, benefitting up to 2,000 new workers.

Another new program will connect employers with 400 Idaho youth between ages 16 and 24 in high school and career technical education programs.

Through another effort, we are expanding the number of employers enrolling in registered apprenticeships throughout the state in the health care, information technology, advanced manufacturing, and energy sectors.

We have nearly tripled the number of Idaho businesses sponsoring apprenticeships in the span of three years. Hundreds of Idaho employers have almost doubled the number of apprenticeship opportunities since just last year.

In short, all our efforts have created a pool of Idahoans who want to hone their skills to meet Idaho employers’ needs.

It’s a tight labor market right now. We will continue to do all we can to get more skilled workers into the satisfying, rewarding careers and help employers who, like all of us, want to see Idaho’s economic trajectory continue to strengthen.

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Eight Idahoans Finish Carpentry Apprenticeship Program

For Immediate Release: April 18, 2021
Information Contact: Caroline Merritt, executive director, NARI of Idaho, (208) 322-8191, caroline@idahotruenorth.com

Eight Idahoans who enrolled in a two-year, residential carpentry apprenticeship program received their certificates this month and are fully employed.

Receiving their USDOL Registered Apprentice federal certifications for “Residential Carpenter” are, from right to left, Gajge Porter, Andrew Croce, Rafael Caballero, Eli Bowser, Roderick Johnson, Kohl Kesner (in back), Jon Sallee, Peggy Behrens (NARI President), Lyndell Kline (Advisory Board Member), Christina Allen and Teri Ottens (Program Administrator).

Federal funds provided to the National Association of Remodeling Industry by the Idaho Department of Labor were used to set up the program and were matched by association operating costs. Fees paid by the sponsoring employers helped pay for the training and education.

The eight apprentices graduated from the program after they completed more than 250 hours of classroom training and worked full-time at continuously-elevated hourly wages based upon course completion.

Upon graduation, the apprentices received their federal designation / certification as a “Residential Carpenter,” and qualified for their OSHA 10-hour Construction Safety certification and as a NARI Certified Carpenter, a certification program through their national association.

The graduating apprentices and the sponsoring employers honored were:

  • Christina Allen – Boyd Construction
  • Eli Bowser – CCH Design Remodel
  • Rafael Caballero – Wood Windows
  • Andrew Croce – CCH Design Remodel
  • Roderick Johnson – CCH Design Remodel
  • Kohl Kesner – Strite Design+Remodel
  • Gajge Porter – Strite Design+Remodel
  • Jon Sallee – Strite Design+Remodel

The program was made possible through a partnership between the Idaho Department of Labor, the National Association of Remodeling Industry (NARI) and the U.S. Department of Labor.

Interested businesses and job seekers can learn more about the Idaho Department of Labor apprenticeship program at https://ApprenticeshipIdaho.gov

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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Federal Shutdown: Idaho Unemployment Insurance Benefits

This blog post was updated Jan. 29, 2019

Question: I am a federal worker who has been furloughed. Am I eligible for unemployment?

Answer: Yes. You are considered laid off due to lack of work and you need to meet personal and monetary eligibility. However as a federal employee, you also need to be aware of several unintended consequences of applying for unemployment insurance benefits.

Before you apply, please consider the following:

  • You will not receive your first unemployment insurance payment for approximately three weeks after you file for benefits.
  • If the federal government compensates you or back pays you for the work you missed during the furlough (as it has historically), you will be required to disclose your payment information to the department and repay any unemployment insurance benefits you collect during that time.
  • You are required to seek work and make at least two job contacts per week.

Q. Once the shutdown is over, if the federal government back pays us for our time away from work, is this income reportable? If so, how should I report my income?

A. Yes. If you receive your back pay, call us at (208) 332-8942 and let us know.

Q. Once the shutdown is over, if the federal government back pays us for our time away from work, do I have to repay benefits?

A. Yes. For unemployment insurance purposes, any back pay you receive from the federal government is reportable income for the weeks you are furloughed and will result in an overpayment of benefits. Please be aware that unpaid overpayments accrue interest of about 11 percent after 30 days from the overpayment establishment. If you have an outstanding overpayment balance, the department will seize your state tax refund, potentially delaying your refund. If your overpayment balance exceeds $350, you must contact us at (208) 332-3842 to set up a repayment agreement that does not exceed three months to avoid a lien being filed against you.

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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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Employers: Changes in Wages, Working Conditions for Range Livestock Herders

New rules surrounding job conditions for H-2A workers who herd sheep, goats and other livestock mean employers must pay a wage that equals or exceeds the highest of a monthly pay rate, a collective bargaining agreement wage, or an applicable minimum wage set by court or law.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the old requirements — adopted in 2010 — do not readily apply to unique occupations that place workers in remote locations where they are on call 24 hours per day, seven days a week. The scarcity of U.S. workers employed in the field have also made setting an appropriate minimum wage difficult, resulting in what the federal agency refers to as “wage stagnation for nearly 20 years.”

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Executive Director for St. Vincent De Paul Inspires Other Employers

Jeff Conroy, executive director for St. Vincent De Paul, encourages all of his employees to have a voice in how the company is run.

Jeff shared his principles of operation at the February Partners in Business event in Post Falls. A record number of attendees came to hear him discuss his Vinny University.

Jeff Conroy

Jeff Conroy

New employees at St. Vincent DePaul attend Vinny University which includes a 12-week course inspired by the book, ‘The Disney Way’ by Bill Capodagli and Lynn Jackson. Jeff shared some of the original success principles in the book including ‘having fun.’

After employees complete that course, they move to an 8-week class called “Creating Magic” taken from a book with the same name written by Lee Cockerell. Jeff’s motto is “Don’t be acceptable, be exceptional!”

Jeff’s employees are called ‘team members’ and they have a voice in the operational improvement of the organization. In addition, they have developed their own incentive plans. When problems occur, the issues are brought to the ‘Breakfast Club’ (think tank) for ‘story boarding.’

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Career Information is For Adults Too

Idaho’s Career Information System is not just for kids. The free, customized online tool also helps adults stay on a solid path toward a successful future while they are in school, training or pursuing a new career.

AdultCISUser copyStudents and adults with career plans are more likely to stay in school, pursue a higher education and once they enter the world of work, see greater promotional opportunities. Accessing Idaho’s Career Information System is free and can help both parents and children:

  • Understand how interests and strengths connect to the world of work
  • Define a career path
  • Decide areas of study to pursue in middle/junior high, high school and college
  • Find the training, education, knowledge – and money – necessary for following their dreams.

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Taking the Mystery out of the Americans With Disabilities Act

We often hear from Idaho businesses that are unsure what they are required to do for job seekers or employees with disabilities. Army - prosthetic leg b&w

What many don’t know is any Idaho business with five or more employees must provide the same employment opportunities to qualified applicants and employees with disabilities that are available to those without disabilities, and they must provide any reasonable accommodations necessary for successful employment, except where such accommodation would cause undue hardship.

What’s the Definition of a Disability?

  • A disability is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities or when someone is regarded as having or has a record (or past history) of such impairment. Continue reading

Seven Ways to Launch a New Career

These days there are lots of tools to choose from when considering a new career.

New this year, the Healthcare Virtual Career Network provides career exploration and training tools to help job seekers prepare for careers in healthcare. Job seekers can explore healthcare careers, identify education and training programs, access online courses, get credit for prior learning, and search for local healthcare jobs.

Idaho’s Career Information System (click on Guests for the free version) has added or improved several new information files including About Programs of Study, About Schools (also available in Spanish) and Financial Aid Sort. All of these pages contain Idaho-specific information and are designed to help students make wiser choices about what schools can help them reach their career goals.  Life After High School is a tool designed to help younger students learn that training beyond high school is appropriate, sensible and affordable. Workshops on how to use this system are held throughout the state each fall and are for anyone who works with or helps students or clients develop career plans. Click here to find the workshop closest to your area.

The Worker Reemployment Portal is designed to assist impacted workers following job loss and to connect them to resources for training, reemployment, career planning, financial and emotional help during the process of job transition. The site also now includes a job search by location feature.

CareerOneStop helps job seekers explore careers, investigate salary and benefit information, research education and training opportunities, plan a job search, browse job sites, write and improve resumes and cover letters, prepare for a job interview and search for jobs. The site’s new Certification Finder  houses information on thousands of certifications and allows users to search for certifications by industry, occupation, or keyword. A new feature includes icons that highlight certifications that have been recognized, endorsed, or accredited by third-party organizations.

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