North Idaho College, Lewis Clark State College and five wood product manufacturing companies have partnered to use a $482,582 workforce development grant to train more than 200 workers in the wood products manufacturing industry over the next two years. The positions will pay wages ranging from $15 to $25 per hour plus employer-assisted medical benefits.
Idaho Forest Group, Potlatch Land and Lumber LLC, Stimson Lumber Co., Empire Lumber Co. and Plummer Forest Product (a total of 11 mills) are the five business partners in the grant.
The funds, awarded from the Idaho Department of Labor, will be used to address skill gaps for high-wage, high-demand occupations in the forest products industry and increase the employment and wages of Idaho workers in mostly rural areas. The project also supports the Apprenticeship Idaho program, which expands innovative apprenticeships into high-growth occupations and industries.
Workforce training and registered apprenticeship opportunities being developed and / or expanded include boiler operator registered apprenticeship, industrial mechanic/millwright registered apprenticeship, kiln operator training, power fluid / hydraulics training and programmable logic controls training (PLC 1, 2, 3, 4).
North Idaho College Wood Products Center of Excellence in northern and north central Idaho will provide some of the training along with structured on-the-job training on site at the mills.
The five industry partners are providing a combination of cash match and in-kind match totaling $141,833.61.
The Idaho Workforce Development Training Fund was started in 1996 and is administered by the Idaho Department of Labor. Grant funds are used to reimburse businesses for the cost of training new workers or retraining existing workers with skills necessary for specific economic opportunities and industrial expansion initiatives.
Eligible businesses must produce a product or service sold outside the region, and the jobs must pay at least $12 an hour plus employer-assisted health insurance. The fund is financed by a 3 percent set-aside of the unemployment insurance taxes paid by businesses each year. Learn more about the Idaho Workforce Development Training Fund at labor.idaho.gov/WDTF.