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How can understanding the plans of high school students and workforce needs in the West Central Mountains Region of Idaho inform workforce development in the region?

To answer this question, Boise State University’s Idaho Policy Institute partnered with West Central Mountains Economic Development Council to analyze the workforce needs of the region. Research included utilizing secondary data and a survey of businesses to identify the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats facing the region’s business community. The key findings of this ‘SWOT ’ analysis indicate that wages are high and businesses in the region are growing. However, businesses are seeing both high rates of turnover and large gaps in the labor pool - particularly when it comes to entry level positions and positions requiring skilled labor and technical expertise and experience. The housing market and overall cost of living may be contributing to these challenges. Opportunities for both continued and new partnerships with the Idaho Department of Labor, Idaho Department of Commerce, local school districts, Boise State University, University of Idaho and College of Western Idaho could support low residency and distance-learning apprenticeship and training programs to help alleviate employment needs. The student survey addendum further informs the SWOT analysis and helps identify future workforce development partnerships and programs.


This report was prepared by Idaho Policy Institute at Boise State university and commissioned by the West Central Mountains Economic Development Council.