FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - March 22, 2023
Boise, Idaho – Governor Brad Little issued the following statement today applauding the Idaho Senate for its passage of House Bill 24, known as “Launch,” the Governor’s proposed solution to getting Idaho students trained for in-demand careers and keep Idaho students in Idaho.
The Senate also passed the Launch trailer bill, Senate Bill 1167, which now heads to the House for approval.
“Thank you and congratulations to the Idaho Senate for your support of Launch! I especially appreciate Senators Dave Lent and Kevin Cook for carrying the bill in the Senate!
“Launch will provide Idaho students entering our workforce with rewarding in-demand career opportunities and help employers hire the skilled workers they desperately need.
“Our students without the means to ‘go on’ after high school will have a more robust pathway to a rewarding career.
“This is about Idaho students STAYING in Idaho to WORK in Idaho jobs!
“Eighty percent of voters supported the biggest investment we’ve ever made in career and workforce training in state history, and I am proud of my partners in the Legislature for listening to the people and following through on the mandate the people have given us.
“There is no better way to support our employers than to get workers through their doors with the training they need to propel themselves and Idaho’s economy forward.
“We’re focused now on getting the trailer bill through the House. We’re almost there in achieving a transformative change for Idaho students, families, and businesses!”
The program, with the edits of the trailer bill, makes available $8,000 to qualifying Idaho high school seniors starting in 2024 to help pay for enrollment in an Idaho-based education or training program geared toward careers in high demand in our state – “real world” professions such as nursing, truck driving, information technology, electricians, welding, teaching, construction, finance professionals, mechanics, plumbing, and others.
Two-thirds of workers in Idaho are employed by small businesses with fewer than 100 employees. Information from the Idaho Department of Labor shows Idaho is missing an opportunity to get students into high-demand careers with our employers. In 2022, Idaho’s severe worker shortage saw an average of more than 56,000 open positions, representing an economy underutilized.
Idaho is expected to graduate approximately 23,000 high school students this year. Most graduates of state universities and community colleges stay to work in the state or area where they received their education or training after high school.
In the November 2022 election, the voters of Idaho overwhelmingly approved the $80 million for in-demand career training passed by the Idaho Legislature and the Governor during the 2022 extraordinary session last year.