POCATELLO — If you’re looking for education and training that almost always guarantees placement at a high-paying, high-demand job, YourFIT is your way in.
YourFIT, or Your Future in Technology, is a series of career fair expos in high schools across Southeast Idaho that raise awareness of high-wage careers in industries looking to replace their aging workforce.
The program — which is in its second year — kicked off Wednesday with a press conference at Idaho State University’s Energy Systems Technology and Education Center. The Idaho National Laboratory — which helped found YourFIT — donated $17,000 to the program.
High-tech companies in Idaho are watching their current employees retire in bunches. Now, those industries are looking for skilled, talented and educated employees to fill a workforce gap that’s growing wider and wider.
This is where YourFIT comes in. During nine upcoming exhibitions at various Southeast Idaho high schools, local companies will hold demonstrations featuring displays and hands-on activities.
In-demand career fields will be described, and faculty from Idaho State University’s College of Technology will explain and outline the curriculum that prospective students can expect.
YourFIT begins with an expo Feb. 22 at Preston High School and tours high schools in Southeast Idaho throughout the spring. Some of the businesses that will be present at the expos include the Idaho National Laboratory, Simplot, ON Semiconductor, Idaho Power and Monsanto.
“These are expos that will allow us to share with high school students across Southeast Idaho what’s happening in the world of high-tech, high-demand careers here in the state of Idaho,” said Scott Rasmussen, dean of ISU’s College of Technology. “We’re really excited to be able to get this message out, even to the rural high schools where students may not know about these wonderful careers. ... We want students in all of these high schools to come to understand that these careers are available and that the wages are great.”
Promising career fields identified by YourFIT include welding, nuclear operating technology, machining, cybersecurity, unmanned aerial systems and diesel mechanics. These industries that are burgeoning in Idaho. And ISU’s College of Technology houses the programs that lead to jobs in those fields. Many of the programs offered take two years to complete.
In most cases when students have graduated, they’ll have a job ready for them. While YourFIT can benefit high school students who haven’t yet decided on their careers, the program welcomes anyone looking for a career change.
Your FIT was formed by the Idaho National Laboratory, local high schools, ISU’s College of Technology, the Idaho Department of Labor, local governments and local economic development agencies. Officials representing each entity were on hand Wednesday.
After YourFIT’s first year reached out to over 2,000 high school students and their families, those men and women are excited at the potential to impact more students this year.
“It’s exciting to see when you have government and industry working together to find out what we need to do to help each other,” said Pocatello Mayor Brian Blad. “It’s amazing when that all comes together.”
Added Chubbuck Mayor Kevin England, “To put something in front of (high school students) that gets them thinking more about their tomorrows and what the opportunities are is a great blessing.”