Bringing the Economy Home

Idaho’s Worker Training Subsidy Expansion Approved

Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact

A group of trainees practice welding techniques at Western States Equipment Co. in Meridian.

An expansion of Idaho’s workforce training program has been approved by the Workforce Development Council.

As long as Idaho’s unemployment rate stays above 7 percent, businesses will be able to apply for training grants to replace retiring employees.  Last month, Idaho’s unemployment rate was 7.8 percent.

Before this change, businesses were only eligible for the training money if they were expanding their current workforce or averting layoffs. 

In a recent press release, assistant deputy director of Idaho’s Department of Labor Dwight Johnson said the state’s aging workforce is putting pressure on Idaho’s labor pool.

“Expanding access to this employer-financed fund will ensure that our existing businesses have the manpower they need to remain profitable in an increasingly competitive atmosphere,” Johnson said.

Idaho’s workforce development training fund was created in 1996 by then Governor Phil Batt.  It’s funded through unemployment insurances taxes paid by businesses.  To qualify, companies must pay at least $12 an hour and provide health coverage.

In the 16-year life of Idaho’s Workforce Development Training Fund, about 200 businesses have been reimbursed more than $38 million to cover the costs of training employees.  Those companies range from airlines and agricultural producers to retail and high-tech businesses.


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