BOISE, Idaho — The Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry is rolling out a new program that they believe will help connect industry leaders to educators who, in turn, can develop the talent needed in the workplace.
It's a program developed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that 30 other states have implemented, but Idaho is one of the first states to implement the talent pipeline management initiative on a statewide basis.
"Workforce is the number one issue for how we get a qualified workforce into our plants and facilities," said Alex LaBeau of the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry president. "70 percent of Idahoans are going to go into a trade."
The program starts with industry leaders who will form a cohort to develop the skills they are missing and would like to see taught before people enter the workforce.
The Idaho Associated Contractors will be one of the industry leaders to share ideas, we spoke with their CEO Wayne Hammon on a construction job site a few weeks ago.
"We have a lot of pipe that is being built," said Hammon. "What I'm hoping is that TPM (talent pipeline management) connects all those into a pipeline because there are some disconnects right now."
The construction industry in Idaho is booming even during the pandemic when the national average has dropped, but both Hammon and the contractor from Okland told us their biggest challenge is finding skilled workers, the carpenters, the plumbers, the framers and others.
"There's a shortage of affordable housing in Idaho, especially in this valley," said Hammon. "We aren't building homes fast enough, and the reason we aren't building them fast enough is that we don't have the people to do it."
The talent management pipeline will take information from the contractors and connect it back to educational institutions to help them develop a curriculum that will move at the speed of business.
They are currently training a group of 30 educators to be ready to hear from the industry leaders.
"That's really powerful information that educators haven't had," said LaBeau. "That's what makes the program so powerful, we've been saying the industry is really good about complaining what we are not getting, but we are really poor about saying what we actually need."
So this program will attempt to connect the dots and help young workers earn a skill that they can carry into the workplace that helps them make a good living.
"They are the ones doing all of these important trades that really keep America going," said LaBeau.