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Idaho wins grant to promote apprenticeships


BOISE, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Idaho State University and College of Eastern Idaho are among 5 Idaho institutions that will receive a share of nearly $2 million in grant funds from the U.S. Department of Labor. The others include North Idaho College, Lewis-Clark State College and the College of Southern Idaho.

The funding is intended to increase apprenticeships in Idaho under the federal "Closing the Skills Gap" grant program. Nationwide, the program is designed to support training of more than 92,000 people in expanded or new apprenticeship programs, including an estimated 1,600 in Idaho over 4 years.

"This award couldn't come at a better time for Idaho," said Wendi Secrist, executive director of Idaho's Workforce Development Council. "This project dovetails perfectly with simultaneous efforts by the Council to scale youth apprenticeships and the Idaho Department of Labor to scale registered apprenticeships. We are poised to see exponential growth in work-based learning opportunities for Idahoans."

The Idaho State Board of Education said ISU and CEI will use the funds to partner with private sector employers to expand apprenticeships in health care, cybersecurity and advanced manufacturing throughout the state. The goal is to help train Idahoans, particularly veterans and under-represented groups, gain specialized skills for jobs that are often hard to fill.

"Apprenticeships are one of the most exciting and effective ways to satisfy labor needs for employers and the long-term career goals of students," State Board of Education President Debbie Critchfield said. "This grant will be a huge benefit for both while also bolstering the state's economy moving forward."

About 400 apprenticeships will be established each year over the next four years. Under terms of the grant, participating private sector employers must contribute a 45% match of the federal funds awarded.

The $1.98 million must still undergo a final approval by the U.S. Department of Labor.

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