The Idaho Division of Career Technical Education (IDCTE) has awarded $3.5 million in grants to expand and modernize Idaho’s secondary and postsecondary career technical education (CTE) programs to meet Idaho’s growing need for a skilled workforce. The grants were awarded to all six technical colleges and a mix of rural and urban districts statewide.
The one-time funds were made possible by the “Building Idaho’s Future” initiative, Governor Brad Little’s plan to use Idaho’s record budget surplus to provide Idahoans historic tax relief and make strategic investments in transportation, education, broadband, water, capital construction, and other critical areas.
“By investing in career technical education, we are investing in our workforce and Idaho businesses. My ‘Building Idaho’s Future’ plan is all about strengthening our state for today and the next generation of Idahoans,” said Governor Little.
CTE programs that provide state-of-the-art, hands-on training for high-skill, in-demand careers have increased in popularity.
“The intentional alignment between our secondary and postsecondary CTE programs provides for a seamless, more efficient, and cost-effective mode of continuing education. That means less time—and money—to acquire the necessary training to obtain in-demand jobs,” said Clay Long, state administrator for IDCTE. “Idaho’s employers have a hand in developing a talent pipeline catered to their needs, and our Governor and legislators can see that CTE programs help to fill the skills gap and keep Idaho competitive.”
To be eligible for funds, programs were prioritized based on alignment with regional workforce needs, demand for occupation, number of job openings, and projected growth rate.
“We wanted to make sure we were investing in occupations that are growing in demand, both to ensure employers have a skilled workforce and students can find jobs in their area of study upon completing their programs,” said Long.
In addition to granting funds for secondary and postsecondary programs, Building Idaho’s Future also provided $3 million to the College of Eastern Idaho’s FutureTech building, an 88,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art facility designed to house labs and classrooms to accommodate students in energy, environmental, and technology programs. It also provided $1.25 million for Workforce Training Centers (WTCs) to develop and deliver content, including $750,000 for training programs specific to the food processing and manufacturing industry. WTCs, which are located at Idaho’s six technical colleges, develop programs to help train or retrain employees to keep up with the needs of their employers and fill hard-to-fill positions.
“We appreciate Governor Little’s recognition of the shared level of importance of ensuring students enrolled in secondary and postsecondary programs and Idahoans already in the workforce have access to the technology, training, and equipment they need to be ready for their careers,” said Long. “It will be exciting to see how this investment in our students and workforce will help our state in the months and years to come.”