BOISE -- Traditional pipelines for delivering skilled workers aren’t keeping up with industry needs, and families aren’t adapting to new market trends.
Technological innovations are allowing many Idaho businesses to grow quickly, but they are also creating fierce competition for employees who have technical skills. Several businesses are hiring as fast as they can, but Idaho’s schools can’t accommodate the growth.
This has created a market with 30,000 unemployed residents looking for jobs, but 20,000 open positions — several of which can’t be filled because available candidates don’t have the right qualifications.
This skills gap is expected to widen. The Idaho Department of Labor predicts that by 2024 there will be 49,000 vacant positions across Idaho.
“The days where you could say ‘I graduated from high school and have a strong back and a shovel and am therefore employable,’ are gone,’” said Trent Clark, public and government affairs director at Monsanto.
A governor-assigned task force of industry leaders and state agents is investigating Idaho’s workforce issue this year in order to provide the governor with recommendations on how to improve it before the 2018 Legislature. The group has five more meetings scheduled this year, with the next one April 24. The group has chosen four areas for improvement: business and education partnerships, career advising, funding and marketing.