Idaho’s Transform Solar Received $1 Million In State Training Grants
This story has been updated, you can read the updated version right here.
A Nampa-based solar company partly owned by Micron Technology will close its doors and lay-off about 250 people over the next three months.
Transform Solar was a joint venture between Boise-based Micron Technology and Australian energy company “Origin.” The company launched in 2009, making high-tech solar cells.
Micron spokesman Dan Francisco says Transform Solar hasn’t been able to withstand the ongoing challenges in the solar industry. He says it’s an industry that’s been hard hit by the down economy. “The solar industry continues to be a very challenging environment,” Francisco says, “with a really unfavorable worldwide supply and demand situation.”
Workforce Development Training Fund Background
The Workforce Development Training Fund started in 1997 as a way to encourage business expansion or relocation from another state. The training dollars are used to help employees who would otherwise lose their job if they didn’t advance their skills.
The fund is paid for by businesses. Three percent of the unemployment insurance tax paid by employers is set aside for the pool of grant money.
In order to qualify for the training grants, businesses must pay their employees at least $12 an hour and provide health benefits. Companies in urban areas must create a minimum of five new jobs, rural businesses need one in order to qualify.
Eligible companies must generate at least half of its revenue from products or services sold outside of Idaho, or be in the health care sector.
Transform Solar received a $3.6 million workforce development training grant in 2010 from the state of Idaho. The latest available data shows Transform was reimbursed for just over $1 million in training costs through that grant.
The Idaho Department of Labor says when a company gets workforce development money, and then closes, the hope is those employees at the very least have received some additional training and skills that will help them in their next job.
Transform Solar employees will get severance pay and the opportunity to apply for open Micron positions.