OPINION: Apprenticeships help solve Idaho’s labor challengesFriday 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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