Ramsey Bland says he was spinning his wheels trying to teach himself to code while holding down a job delivering pizza, so he enrolled in a 13-week immersive boot camp at CodeWorks. After he finished the program, Ramsey enrolled in an apprenticeship at In Time Tec in Meridian, an international software development company. Today, Ramsey is a full-time In Time Tec employee and believes attending CodeWork’s boot camp was the best decision of his life. It led to his apprenticeship, launching him into a career he loves.

Idaho apprenticeships and apprentices are on the rise. The number of Idaho businesses sponsoring apprenticeships doubled from 2016 to 2018. The number of registered apprentices in nontraditional industries like health care, energy, information technology, transportation, advanced manufacturing and the building trades increased 67 percent.

Our efforts to deliver industry-specific, certified instruction and technical training through registered apprenticeships by working with Idaho businesses, community colleges, high schools, universities, associations and career and technical education providers are paying off.

However, as a state, we cannot and should not let up.

Our October 2018 unemployment rate was a record low 2.7 percent. Idaho’s population - one of the fastest growing in the nation - grew to 1.7 million in 2017. Labor’s forecast from 2016 to 2026 is 1.2 percent annual average increase in the statewide population. And we project that those age 65 and older will grow by 4 percent annually, faster than the 3.1 percent national average.

What this means is Idaho’s work force shortage is not going away anytime soon. In fact, we project a shortage of 49,000 workers by 2024, a major impediment to the state's economic growth.

For Idaho businesses, apprenticeships are a win-win. Employers who engage in apprenticeships are building a talent pipeline capable of increased productivity and low turnover, with retention rates as high as 91 percent.

For job seekers, a registered apprenticeship is a job and a paycheck destined to increase their knowledge, skills, performance and wages through training. Nationally, the average starting wage is $16.50 per hour. Graduates earn an average of $60,000 per year. Those who complete a program sometimes earn credentials equivalent to a two- or four-year degree, without the debt.

In addition to wages, eligible post 9/11 veterans pursuing a career as a registered apprentice may be able to use their GI Bill to secure financial support for books, training supplies and a monthly housing allowance.

There are hundreds of resources available to help businesses and job seekers enter the world of apprenticeships. Career counselors at our 25 local Department of Labor offices are ready and willing to discuss the available resources. For a list of offices, visit labor.idaho.gov or call (208) 332-3570 and we’ll get you connected.

Recruiting, training and retaining talent are some of the most important issues Idaho employers face. Through registered apprenticeships, our employers can take charge of building their own pipeline of highly skilled, highly motivated workers.

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