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Idaho businesses partner with Caldwell trade school for more skilled workers

Local businesses in need of skilled trade workers are partnering with Elevate Academy. The 6-12 technical school prepares students for the workforce.

CALDWELL, Idaho — Help wanted signs are everywhere in the Treasure Valley, the Gem State and the country at large.

The national labor shortage is hitting right at home in Treasure Valley, and for local businesses in need of trade workers, they're hit especially hard as they need qualified candidates with a specific set of skills.

"We end up interviewing 25 people to find one good candidate,"  said Mike Dale, the owner of Royalty Electric. "We no longer look around for the guy that's been in the business for 20 years and has seen everything. We're looking for people, young people, who want to work and want to do their job with excellence."

It's for that exact reason Dale - and many others - have turned to Elevate Academy, which is a 6-12 grade technical school in Caldwell.

Elevate founder Matt Strong said academic work, like math and science, is integrated into the trade curriculum. So, a student won't be learning geometry out of a text book, but rather in the workshop as they craft their welding skills.

"If it wasn't for this school, I possibly could have dropped out of high school,' Elevate senior Katie Martinez told KTVB. "Being able to just have that head start and figure out what you like, what you don't like, what kind of path you want to create for yourself in the long run is so beneficial at this age because we're figuring out who we are right now and what we want to become."

Elevate students must have a job to graduate high school, according to Strong. Local businesses have been quick to partner with Elevate, in hopes of getting their hands on the next generation Idaho's skilled trade workers.

"I think the fact the school is so responsive here in terms of their career placement is kind of their secret sauce," Steelhead Metal Corp President Gorden Gates said.

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