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Workforce Development

Workforce Development Committee Recap

By CSG West

Members discuss postsecondary education with employer & industry needs, and supply chain: history, current obstacles & time-tested solutions.

Connecting People with the Dignity of Work Aligning Postsecondary Education with Employer and Industry Needs
Top takeaways:
  • Idaho Workforce Development Council and College of Western Idaho partner on multiple initiatives to match industry-specific training with high-priority workforce areas.
  • Initiatives include cybersecurity workforce training and expedited construction training to support rapid growth.
  • Council grants target healthcare workforce and expand training for tribal students.

During this session, co-presenters Wendi Secrist and Gordon Jones examined multiple initiatives from The Idaho Workforce Development Council (WDC) and College of Western Idaho (CWI), whose partnership seeks to design postsecondary education that reflects the complex needs of Idaho’s employers.

Secrist and Jones highlighted WDC’s recent implementation of a cybersecurity job training initiative, which operates in partnership with CWI. A response to Idaho’s growing need for cybersecurity professionals – far outpacing the number of those available and qualified for these roles – the program pairs cybersecurity students with rural communities and businesses that may lack infrastructure for these services while offering students real-world experience.

Other initiatives discussed were CWI’s Construction Career Launcher, featuring eight-week training designed to prepare students to begin a career in Idaho’s rapidly growing construction industry. Session participants learned about the Idaho Opportunity Scholarship for Adult Learners, accessible through CWI, that targets workforce engagement for the estimated 165,000 Idahoans who have earned college credits but lack a degree.

Secrist also shared with participants a wide range of industry-specific job training grants targeting Idaho’s highest priority workforce areas. Highlights included a recent investment to prepare 480 nursing graduates and 525 nurses for transition to virtual patient health care and the implementation of certified nursing assistant, dental assistant, and engineering technician training for members of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes.


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Wendi Secrist
Executive Director
Idaho Workforce Development Council

Gordon Jones
College of Western Idaho

Supply Chain: History, Current Obstacles & Time-Tested Solutions
Top takeaways:
  • Rapid growth in e-commerce increases urgency to meet supply chain challenges.
  • Strategies discussed include federal program utilization and fourth-party logistics solutions.
  • Merging education and industry may be a critical step toward effective management of supply chain conditions.

During this session, presenter David Harlow delivered historical context for present-day supply chain conditions, and participants examined strategies for navigating current challenges. The initial discussion centered around key focus areas of supply chain strategies, including GPS tracking, automation, fulfillment, and carrier transport processes.

Harlow incorporated data illustrating dramatic increases in E-commerce volume from 2019 through the present, which includes 44.5% growth between 2019-2021 and its implications for containerized imports and exports.

Also addressed were supply chain obstacles presented during the pandemic, including surges in demand, pandemic-related labor shortages, capacity limitations for the ocean and air transportation, and resulting impacts on the trucking and warehouse industries.

In discussing strategies for addressing current supply chain challenges, principal focus areas were fourth-party logistics (4PL) solutions, federal program utilization, and integrating education and industry. Participants considered potential advantages associated with Foreign-Trade Zones, bonded warehouses, and CFS (container freight station) programs, as well as Federal Assistance Programs related to the Small Business Association (SBA) and Small Business Development Network (SBDC).

Additional focus areas included merging academia with industry through on-the-job training and internship industries to establish the labor capacity needed to manage rapid E-Commerce growth.



David Harlow, LCB
President & CEO
ITC-Diligence, Inc.