Tuesday, 18 December 2012 12:31


Detailed Examples of Projects Spring 2013:

Idaho Lewis County Partners:  The Ida-Lew EDC Economic Development Specialist leads the Idaho Lewis County Partners.  ILCP is a collection of schools, businesses, employers and community members.  The mission of the group is:

Idaho Lewis County Partners will stimulate economic growth and stability by:

·         Expanding/enhancing educational opportunities

·         Increasing external business opportunities for existing businesses

·         Fostering new business while maintaining community values

Idaho and Lewis counties are experiencing workforce shortages that inhibit their ability to produce and to provide services.  For these reasons, efforts to address the worker shortages in the growing manufacturing sector and in health care have become paramount.

In the early months of 2012, Ida-Lew Economic Development organized education and industry around these workforce issues.  In October 2012, the Idaho Lewis County Partners hosted a Career Fair at the Idaho County Fair Grounds in Cottonwood attracting over 30 businesses and 500 students from eight schools and giving students one-on-one opportunities to learn about career offerings available in their backyard.  Energized by student response and driven by workforce needs, the Partners began research on rural models of professional technical education. 


Idaho Lewis County Partners plan to develop and open the new Camas-Clearwater Technical Education Center in 2-4 years, depending on funding.  In doing so, the Partners shall welcome, in the first year, approximately 70 11th and 12th grade students from Cottonwood, Craigmont, Grangeville, Kamiah, Kooskia, and Nezperce and training to 65 North Idaho Correctional Institute (NICI) student-offenders and 36 adult workers. The school shall provide new learning and access to seamless career pathways that align with north central Idaho industries’ 21st Century needs.  The professional technical school shall operate out of a central, premier learning center renovated from the currently vacant 20,000 s.f. facility owned by Cottonwood School District (former home to Prairie Elementary School) with 12,000 s.f. additional space.  School district schedules shall be synchronized and aligned so that students graduate from their local high school, obtain certifications and credits from the PT school, and get direct work experience allowing them to enter the workforce upon graduation, to continue learning through adult education programs taught at the center, or to continue their learning through Idaho’s post-secondary education institutions.


The Camas-Clearwater Technical Education Center’s mission is to prepare students for industry, to give students opportunities for training that will lead to career advancement, and to provide seamless career pathways linking students to post secondary education opportunities that feed back into local workplace needs.  The school shall offer curriculum in Industrial Welding & Metal Fabrication, Engineering Design, Automated Manufacturing, Medical Assistant, Phlebotomy, and Medical Billing Coding. This purpose is consistent with the Region 2 Workforce Development Council’s mission “to support and facilitate the development of a business focused skilled workforce system that meets the needs of business and industry, enhances workplace productivity, and increases opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship.”


The Economic Development Specialist will continue to lead the Idaho Lewis County Partners by coordinating and leading meetings, organizing efforts for the annual Idaho Lewis County Career Expo, organizing and leading efforts for the development of the Camas-Clearwater Technical Education Center and other workforce development needs, facilitating training and collaboration opportunities to participating businesses and recruiting complimentary businesses to the local area.  The EDS will also continue to meet individually with the members of ILCP to insure their needs are being met by the efforts of the group.


The efforts of the Idaho Lewis County Partners will help to insure that businesses have the skilled labor they need to expand and to encourage local workforce – adult and youth – to remain in the community.  The Camas-Clearwater Technical Education Center will create approximately 10 jobs at the school and allow numerous local employers to fill the jobs they anticipate creating.  Without these local workforce efforts, employers may be forced to expand at other locations outside the area and state or to not expand at all.


Idaho County Airport Expansion and Warbird Weekend: The Economic Development Specialist works with Idaho County, the Idaho County Airport, Anderson Aeromotive and the Airport Authority to recruit new businesses to the Idaho County Airport.  The EDS supports the Airport Authority and Idaho County Commissioners in efforts to market the airport and assists with the plans for Anderson Aeromotive to become the airport’s Fixed Base Operator on the land leased to them by Idaho County.

Warbird Weekend is one of the key marketing efforts of the Idaho County Airport.  The EDS is the event coordinator for Warbird Weekend and leads the planning team that includes Idaho County Commissioner James Rockwell, Idaho County Airport Manager Mike Cook, Northwest TechWorx Owner Don Fletcher, Anderson Aeromotive owner Ray Anderson and daughter Lindsay Denuit, Grangeville City Council Member Michael Peterson, Syringa Maintenance and EMS Supervisor Bill Spencer, Idaho County Disaster Management Jerry Zumwalt, USDA Forest Service employees Laura Smith (public relations) and Willie Acton (smoke jumper center), Airport Authority Members Gene Dandliker (Owner Jem Machine), Ted Lindsley (Owner Super 8) and Shannon Fuchs (Grangeville Plant Manager Idaho Forest Group), and Idaho County Free Press Editor David Rauzi.


How this all started was on the question of ‘Why not an airfair in Grangeville?” In decades past, the airport had hosted such aircraft come-togethers, but nothing in recent memory for a facility that has for the most part sat mostly forgotten on the edge of this rural Camas Prairie community of more than 3,200 people. Quiet, except for the start of spring crop-duster activity and then those frantic mid- to late- summer months when the runway and tie-downs resemble a kicked-over ant’s nest as SEATs (single engine air tankers) and belly-dump helicopters buzz and whop-whop across the sky on wildfire missions across the hazy smoke-choked skies of North Central Idaho.

The airfair idea came at the right time for the airport, following in the wake of renewed interest in the county-owned facility that started in 2009.

Nestled amidst the 5.4 million breathtaking acres of Idaho County, the airport offers access to Rocky Mountains, river valleys, wilderness and extensive public lands.  Not only is the Idaho County Airport the gateway to a plethora of recreation opportunities, it is also an emerging hub of economic growth.

Looking to capitalize on and promote the region’s strengths, the Idaho County Commission saw its airport with new eyes, recognizing it as an underdeveloped resource for regional economic development through both business creation and recreation/tourism. An Airport Development Authority was created to advise on facility operations and comprehensive planning, and to develop private and public sector opportunities.

In the midst of this, the airport was already seeing renewed economic activity due to the relocation several years prior of Anderson Aeromotive, an FAA-certified repair station specializing in Pratt and Whitney and Curtiss-Wright radial engines. Anderson was seen as key player in the airport’s renewal, and along with county cooperation in helping the business expand hangar space at the facility, the commission was envisioning Anderson’s offerings as a draw for ancillary aircraft services. Idaho County as America’s warbird workshop? Why not?

As the county worked to improve and promote the airport, Bryant and airport manager Mike Cook came up with the airfair idea, spurred by the success of a fly-in event at a backcountry airstrip that drew 150 participants. The pair felt they could do something similar.

“Idaho County wanted an opportunity to showcase the airport and available facilities to the community and pilots outside the local area,” Cook said. “The airfair provided an excellent way to let many participants know ways the airport could be utilized to showcase the area for aviation-related business and play.”

What came about was a working committee that included Idaho County, Ida-Lew EDC, Anderson Aeromotive, along with multiple private businesses and public entities. For those thinking of such a task, you need a driving force, for which the Ida-Lew EDS was well-suited; keeping efforts and deadlines on track. Participants lend their time and expertise, as well as their connections such as in the case of Anderson who helped draw some of the classic aircraft – and current clients -- to participate.

Warbird Weekend is being planned for 2013 and will be an annual event.  The first event brought in 1,700-2,000 people into the area boosting the local service industries as well as the airport total fuel sales of $9,793.15.  The first Warbird Weekend generated a few business relocation leads.  Anderson Aeromotive has purchased two buildings adjacent to the airport as well as a propeller business out of Arizona.  The company has added continued to grow and add employees.  Warbird Weekend gives them a chance to showcase their company to prospective clients and to the community.


The Economic Development Specialist will continue to be the event coordinator including leading the planning team, marketing and PR for the event, plane/pilot recruitment, event organization, sponsor recruitment, partnering with Anderson and local businesses to fundraise for plane fuel, etcetera.  The EDS will continue to work with the Airport Development Authority group, Idaho County and the Idaho County Airport staff to market the airport for business growth.  The EDS will continue to work with Anderson Aeromotive on expansion plans and towards building a hanger on the airport and becoming the FBO.


Potential projects for the airport expansion include the development of rental hangers and other amenities at the main office that will aid in tourism and recreation business development and expansion for the area.


Riggins to Grangeville Connectivity – Telephone / Broadband:  Currently if phone/broadband service lines are severed between Lewiston and White Bird all communities in between loose land line and most cellular phone services as there is no connection to the south.  The connection to the south begins at White Bird with poor connectivity to Riggins and then Riggins connects to southern Idaho.  If the connection is lost from the Riggins area north, the same loss occurs.  This causes all of Idaho and Lewis counties to lack redundant services.  There are a few wireless connectivity services that can be purchased to provide redundancy – such as First Step, Nez Perce Tribal Enterprises.  However dual services would have to be purchased and paid for regularly to achieve redundancy, a cost prohibitive approach for most in the area.  After a line outage in 2012 that lasted most of a day, the majority of the population in two counties experienced the loss of internet connectivity, long distance calling and 911 emergency calling.  Because of the lack of redundancy and Idaho State Legislation giving the phone companies 4 days to provide repairs, businesses can face large income losses and residents can face the loss of access to emergency services.

Idaho County and Lewis County support a study of wireless connectivity options to connect Grangeville to Riggins.  This would provide redundancy and ideally prevent long service outages.  The engineering study could potentially be completed through grant funds from USDA Rural Development RBEG, the Idaho Department of Commerce, Homeland Security and other sources.


Housing and Rental Development Study:  The Economic Development Specialist meets with local companies in Idaho and Lewis Counties to assess their needs for business expansion and retention.  The majority of companies have identified workforce as the number one issue they struggle with.  Generally the second issue they identify continues to be housing and rentals.  The Idaho Department of Labor has provided several Idaho and Lewis County communities with commuter pattern studies.  For most communities, roughly half of the workforce commutes to other communities for work.  Some workers commuting travel as far as outside the region and outside the state.  Companies are reporting that during employee recruitment efforts they are told by prospective employees that they can’t find housing or rentals.  Many companies also report difficulties retaining employees who are commuting from other communities as the cost of fuel continues to rise.


The concept behind this project is to seek USDA Rural Development RBEG funds to complete a full study of the housing and rental availability in Idaho and Lewis Counties.  The results of the study would then be utilized to create a report that would allow the encouragement of private housing and rental development through data that demonstrates the need and financial viability of investing in such development.


The Economic Development Specialist will continue to meet with local companies to identify their workforce growth needs and the needs of their existing employees.  The EDS will continue to work with USDA Rural Development on the creation of the project concept and suggested scope of work.  The EDS will then partner with Clearwater Economic Development Association on the writing of a RBEG grant.  The grant would ideally be supported by area businesses, Idaho County, Lewis County and the cities in those two counties.  Nezperce, Grangeville, Cottonwood and Craigmont have investigated public housing development assistance options during the past year.  Each community has independently determined that in order to support area employers, the housing and rentals they need would not viably be public housing.  The income levels for public housing developments are below the wages paid by the area’s growing companies and would not assist them in attracting and retaining employees.  The EDS will work with area businesses, counties and cities to coordinate efforts.


These efforts will aid businesses in their retention and expansion efforts.  Without adequate workforce housing, businesses will have great difficulties obtaining the workforce necessary to add new jobs.


Last modified on Thursday, 29 August 2013 14:50

Contact Info

for assistance please contact:

Ida-Lew Economic Development


Phone: 208.983.8302


300 W. Main St. Ste 201

Grangeville, ID 83530


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