Tag Archives: U.S. Department of Labor

Idaho Receives $1 Million to Connect Job Seekers with Workforce Services

The Idaho Department of Labor was awarded a $1.09 million U.S. Department of Labor grant to improve the process of connecting dislocated workers, unemployment insurance claimants, the long-term unemployed and other job seekers to all available services.

Idaho is one of more than 40 states and territories receiving funds from the Reemployment & Systems Integration National Dislocated Worker Grants to provide seed money for solutions to improving connectivity.

Read more details in the full news release.


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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Preventing Pregnancy-Related Discrimination

Most employers know and understand their employees are protected from workplace discrimination which ranges from safeguarding against unjust or prejudicial treatment based on gender, age or disability, to race-based discrimination.

What many don’t know is national anti-discrimination laws also protect women from pregnancy-related workplace discrimination and harassment.

pregnancyRobin Runge, Senior Policy Adviser for the U.S. Department of Labor Civil Rights Center identifies several red flags that indicate pregnancy-related discrimination may be at play:

  • An employment agency refuses to refer a pregnant individual for employment;
  • A job announcement that states  applications from pregnant individuals or individuals who may become pregnant will not be accepted;
  • Denying someone who is pregnant access to a training program, participating in other activities or receiving benefits;
  • Encouraging someone who discloses she is pregnant to drop out of a training or education program;
  • Refusing to provide a pregnant individual with regular access to a bathroom or breaks from standing for long periods of time;
  • Unwillingness to provide lactation breaks and a clean, private space (not restroom) to express breast milk.

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FAQ Friday – Where can I find sample job descriptions?

Q. Smart employers write and job seekers ask to see job descriptions during the employee recruitment process. Where can they find them?

A. Job descriptions are vital in the recruitment, interviewing and selection of new employees and serve as the foundation for determining what kind of workers will best fill job openings.

From a job seeker’s perspective, a good job description spells out what the job entails and gives them a good sense of whether their skills and experience are suitable for a job. If they lack a skill that’s vital in the job description, they can determine if they need more training — whether through a class, job shadowing or online learning. Looking carefully at job descriptions in a particular field can also help a job seeker see how their skills, interests and experience might square with the competition. A smart job seeker carefully compares the requirements of jobs they’re interested against their résumé and cover letter to make sure they are clearly showing the skills, experience and education required for the position.

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Economic Activity in Idaho in November

Here is a roundup of economic news compiled by the Idaho Department of Labor in November:

Northern Idaho

  • Nearly 700 people from around the world attended the 11th annual Silver Summit in late October in Spokane. Participants toured Idaho’s Silver Valley Sunshine Mine, Lucky Friday Mill and New Jersey Mill. The summit featured 13 speakers and over 60 exhibitors including the country’s top three silver producers.
  • Sandpoint-based Coldwater Creek has laid off 20 percent of its full-time corporate workforce to save between $20 million and $25 million in the 2014 fiscal year although severance packages and restructuring costs will total $3 million.
  • A new Coeur d’Alene-based company, RockStar Resources, has been formed to advance precious metals projects into production by providing financial and permit support. Former Coeur d’Alene Mines Chief Executive Dennis Wheeler was named chairman of the newly formed company and K. Leon Hardy, a 30-year geological engineer, is president and chief executive.
  • The Idaho Department of Labor’s Kootenai County office hosted the 2013 Autumn Job Fair in October. Approximately 350 job seekers and 35 employers participated, and nearly 40 people have been hired so far.

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Grow Green Grant Helps Students Learn New Skills

Many of the highest-paying jobs require advanced skills in science, technology, engineering and math. To prepare students for careers in these fields, high schools, colleges and universities across Idaho tapped into a U.S. Department of Labor Grow Green grant managed by the Idaho Department of Labor.

The schools were awarded $4.6 million between February 2010 and June 2013 for programs such as wind energy, diesel engine technology, construction and pre-engineering. Nearly 1,800 students were involved in these programs, learning new skills because of the grants.
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Six Things to Know About Unpaid Internships

Internships are one of the most important experiences that students can participate in during their college career and ranked one of the most important things employers look for when hiring recent grads, according to Anne Evans from Boise State University’s Career Center. Internships allow students to gain hands-on professional experience in their field of study and provide a mentoring environment for a future career choice.

But a recent court ruling by a federal judge in New York that Fox Searchlight Pictures violated minimum wage and overtime laws by not paying interns has caused concerns and questions about unpaid internships. It is important to note that this case did not involve students working through a university internship program.

If structured properly in an educational environment, unpaid internships can be extremely valuable to a college student according to Evans, assistant director, Internships and Student Employment , but the internships must meet the following criteria established by the U.S. Department of Labor:

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