Great Seal of the State of Idaho



October 26, 2017

CONTACT: Jon Hanian
(208) 334-2100





(BOISE) – Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter significantly restructured the State’s Workforce Development Council today, seeking to close the gap between the training and education that Idaho job seekers have and the skills that Idaho employers need.

Executive Order 2017-12implements recommendations from the Governor’s Workforce Development Task Force calling for the Council to be given more authority and to be more independent and industry-driven. Today’s order will be followed in January with a proposal asking the Idaho Legislature for statutory changes aligned with the Task Force recommendations.

Until now, the Council has been advisory to the director of the Idaho Department of Labor. It has weighed in on how best to allocate money for education and training programs from the Workforce Development Training Fund but has had little role in developing and implementing a statewide strategy. The need for more direct industry involvement and public transparency was emphasized when the 2017 Legislature approved the use of $2.5 million in general State tax revenue to supplement employer contributions to the Training Fund through a portion of the unemployment insurance tax.

“Idaho businesses need a more nimble, responsive and focused effort to address a skills gap that threatens to leave us tens of thousands of workers short of the jobs we’re creating. Success means avoiding a serious drag on our economic growth that we just can’t afford,” Governor Otter said. “These changes will help ensure that Idaho’s workforce is well prepared for the increasingly technical and challenging jobs of tomorrow.” 
Today’s action also creates the position of executive director responsible for administrative support of the 36-member Council. Governor Otter chose Wendi Secrist for that role. She currently is director of business outreach and the Idaho SkillStack ® program at the State Division of Career-Technical Education.

 “We have a mandate from industry and the Governor to improve Idaho’s talent pipeline by increasing public awareness and access to workforce development education and training opportunities throughout Idaho,” Secrist said. “I’m excited about the challenge of spearheading collaboration between Idaho’s great business community, education and government to achieve those goals.”

Another change aimed at more meaningfully engaging employers is creation of an Executive Committee within the Workforce Development Council. Made up of the chair, vice chair and three additional Council members appointed by the chair and representing industry, the Executive Committee will be tasked with setting the agenda and determining priorities for consideration by the full Council.


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