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Apprenticeship in Idaho
Posted on October 18, 2010 by John Griffin
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Apprenticeship In Idaho


Idaho is an Office of Apprenticeship(OA) state.  The OA state office is in the capital city of Boise, and is staffed with State Director Bill Kober, and Program Specialist John Cantrell.  Melinda Barnes is an IT Specialist serving the apprenticeship community nationwide and also works out of the Boise office.


Currently Idaho has 261 Active Programs and 1267 Active Apprentices.  For the last 12 to 18 months Idaho has been locked in on an unemployment rate between 9% and 9.5%.  This has had a negative impact on apprenticeship in the state, reducing both the number of programs and the number of apprentices.  Like most of the nation the construction industry has been especially hard hit and this has directly impacted apprenticeship in Idaho


Nevertheless registered apprenticeship is making progress in other sectors of the economy.  Utilization of registered apprenticeship has significantly increased among Idaho’s manufacturers.  State government has also begun to utilize registered apprenticeship much more than in the past.


Idaho’s OA staff has worked closely with the state’s Dept. of Labor to advance the goal of integrating apprenticeship into Idaho’s overall workforce training system.  In June 2009 Idaho OA staff conducted an Action Clinic with key workforce training participants from throughout the state.  From this clinic an Apprenticeship Steering Committee has developed to focus on the expansion of apprenticeship training in the state.  The Idaho State Labor Leadership Team has proposed the Committee be integrated as a sub-committee of the Idaho State-Wide Workforce Investment Board. 


Idaho State Director Bill Kober has been working closely with state staff to develop an Idaho website for apprenticeship.  The state will launch this new website in the not too distant future.  This will be an excellent new resource providing detailed registered apprenticeship information for employers, job seekers, veterans, school representatives and workforce professionals.

Idaho was one of 34 states to receive grants from the $190 million earmarked in last year’s economic stimulus package to expand the nation’s labor pool with the skills needed by emerging industries like renewable and efficient energy.  Idaho received $6 million of which $500,000 is designated for registered apprenticeship.  Under the grant, the Idaho Department of Labor has joined with the state’s professional-technical educators, its colleges, the Idaho National Laboratory, the AFL-CIO and the Office of Apprenticeship to provide training for hundreds of veterans, dislocated workers, low-skilled adults and youths and other groups.  This money represents a large investment in Idaho’s registered apprenticeship system and has the potential to significantly expand apprenticeship’s role in the energy field.

The Office of Apprenticeship in Idaho can be reached at:

William Kober
State Director USDOL/ETA/OA
Suite 204
1150 North Curtis Rd.
Boise, Idaho 83706-1234

Submitted by John Griffin

On October 27-28, Secretary Solis’ Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship (ACA) will meet in the Great Hall of the U.S. Department of Labor to begin efforts to develop recommendations on issues critical to the advancement of Registered Apprenticeship as part of the Secretary’s vision of “Good Jobs for Everyone”.  This will be the first meeting of the ACA since Secretary Solis announced its new members on September 20, 2010.  Education and ETA Assistant Secretaries Brenda Dann-Messier and Jane Oates, Deputy Assistant Secretary Barbara DesMarteau, and newly appointed Chairperson Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, CEO of Green for All, will be among the speakers scheduled to address the committee.

The ACA will be asked to develop recommendations that assist the Department in developing strategies on key issues such as:

  • Developing strategies to promote the use of the Registered Apprenticeship model in growing industries, including Healthcare, Green Jobs, Transportation and Information Technology
  • Expanding partnerships with the public workforce and education systems
  • Increasing opportunities for under-represented populations through the use of pre-apprenticeship models that provide disadvantaged youth and adults career pathways that offer good pay and long-term employment.

Be sure to check back in the coming days for more on the outcomes of this meeting.

Editor's Note:  Our guest blogger is Loretta Shelley, Apprenticeship Program Manager, from the great state of Kansas. 

In 2008, the Kansas Department of Commerce (Commerce) was awarded a three-year grant from the USDOL.  The grant, Registered Apprenticeship WORKS! (RA WORKS!), funds the Related Technical Instruction (RTI) portion of training for WIA Dislocated Workers in an approved Registered Apprenticeship program.  One company who has successfully made use of these grant funds is Tyson Foods, Inc.

Partnership development and cooperation was a critical step to the success of the project. The collaborative initiative included Tyson Foods, Kansas WorkforceONE (the WIA local entity), Garden City Community College, and Commerce – Registered Apprenticeship.  Kansas WorkforceONE staff identified and contacted potential Dislocated Workers and other targeted groups registered in the system.  They conducted an initial assessment/screening to determine eligibility for WIA programs, assessed potential “fit” with open positions at Tyson, and oversaw the prep and oversight of the WorkReady! Assessments for job candidates.  All interested job candidates participated in BEST training—a job retention and work ethic workshop, took a plant tour, and interviewed for employment at Tyson.  Maintenance Mechanics were then selected and registered in the Tyson Registered Apprenticeship program.

Garden City Community College (GCCC) provided the RTI for Tyson’s program and the RA WORKS! grant paid part of the RTI for the apprentices. Apprentices attended morning classes at GCCC Monday-Thursday and completed the on-the-job learning at Tyson in the afternoons and on Fridays. They were trained and assessed in 13 competency areas. Tyson’s in-house computerized training modules and practice lab aligned and complemented the RTI at GCCC.  It provided structured applied learning connections for the apprentices, as well as a means to demonstrate mastery of both academic and workplace competencies.     

Tyson is very pleased with the outcome and success of this project.  They anticipated that implementing the Registered Apprenticeship model would reduce their turnover, and it did.  The first class had nine apprentices. Eight successfully completed the program.  All apprentices were WIA eligible and were supported by either the RA WORKS! or RA Scholarship model.  Apprentices received WIA funding for transportation and tools required for their job, based on need.  A second group of nine apprentices have started the program.  The company is in talks to develop and implement the program in other states.  This project has truly been a win-win-win for all its partners.    

Now that we've settled in after what I thought was a hugely successful Collaborate for Success: Partnering with Registered Apprenticeship Action Clinic in Boston, MA.   I wanted to follow up with a wrap-up on the exciting sessions we didn't get a chance to touch on from Boston.  Also, since you heard from us last, we've been able to upload some video of the conference onto the CoP.  More on the videos in a minute, but for now, we wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of the State team participants, OA and ETA staff, and Coffey Consulting, LLC.   All of you helped make the clinic a real opportunity for sharing and collaboration on strategies to advance the integration of Registered Apprenticeship into regional and state workforce development initiatives. The clinic included dynamic speakers, sharing of best practices and ample opportunities for our State teams to roll up their sleeves and get down to business....


Here's some photos of our Day 1 speakers:




Our last blog in Boston had Laura Ginsburg providing real-time highlights of our Day 2 morning panel.  Following a series of scheduled team planning meetings, the Action clinics closed with two additional Action Panels and one last team planning session where our State teams finalized their ‘Action Steps’ to continue the development of integration strategies when they returned home to their respective states.


The first of the final panels was the Structure, Operations and Service Delivery session, moderated by my cubicle neighbor and fellow OA staff member Kenya Huckaby. The speakers for the panel included Linda Sorrell (Director of Policy and Planning for the Workforce Alliance of Southeast Kansas) and Jamie Krause (Assistant Director and Smart Grid Manager for the Pacific Northwest Center of Excellence for Clean Energy at Centralia College in Washington State). Linda and Jamie provided insights on how Kansas and Washington State have developed innovative and cost-effective approaches to integrate Registered Apprenticeship into their service delivery strategies, including: training and working directly with One-Stop Center staff to increase outreach around Registered Apprenticeship; and co-location of Apprenticeship staff in local One-Stops (be sure to follow the links below to see video of this and the other great panel sessions).


The last panel of the week was the Partnership Development panel, which included Keynote speaker Andrew Cortes, Director of Building Futures and Gerry Ghazi, Founder and President of Vermont Healthcare and Information Technology Education Center (HITEC).  Both of these non-profit workforce development organizations are focusing on providing career opportunities to workers through innovative partnerships with the One-Stop system, Employers, and Labor/Union organizations to use Registered Apprenticeship to establish a successful career path. Andrew discussed the partnership strategies Building Futures is using to provide low-income urban residents in Rhode Island access to quality Registered Apprenticeship programs in the Construction industry through an intensive pre-apprenticeship training model. Gerry Ghazi detailed the partnership efforts Vermont HITEC has underway to use Registered Apprenticeship to meet the skill demands of Vermont-area Healthcare employers.


Following these informative panels, the State teams were energized and focused on finalizing their integration strategy development plans.  During the final team sessions, all of the State teams re-convened for a final ‘report out’ of the plans they developed throughout the week.  Now that the clinic has ended, the real work begins!  State teams have committed to advancing their plans and adding key stakeholders as they begin to implement strategies that will increase career opportunities for workers through collaborations that include their resources, knowledge and experience of representative of their State’s Registered Apprenticeship, Public Workforce, and Education systems.  The energy around finding new and innovative approaches to serving U.S. workers and helping get America back on its feet was undeniable and we look forward to highlighting the progress of these initiatives as they began to take ‘Action’.


For more on the clinics and video of all of the plenary and panel sessions held throughout the week, be sure to visit the Action Clinics page on our Community of Practice.  


Oh yeah, one more thing... Happy Anniversary to my beautiful wife!


Unitl next time...


Chad Aleshire

Program Analyst

Office of Apprenticeship



Manufacturing Summit 2010: Green Collar Jobs & Apprenticeship
Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center
Washington, DC | November 9, 2010

Don't miss this opportunity to hear from leaders of industry, business, government, and education!  Confirmed speakers include...

  • US Senator Al Franken (MN)
  • US Senator Amy Klobuchar (MN)
  • Caroline Faivet, President & CEO of Swatch Group (US)
  • Greg Chambers, DOL Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship
  • Blake Moret, Vice President at Rockwell Automation
  • Ueli Bernhard, CEO of
  • Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, CEO of Green For All
  • Manuel Sager, Ambassador-designate for the Embassy of Switzerland to the US
  • Hans Ulrich Bigler, President of SGV and the Swiss Trade Assosiation of SMEs

Summit registration includes entry to a Pre-Summit Reception at the Residence of the Ambassador of Switzerland on Monday, November 8th.

Space is limited, so click here to register early!