Tuesday, 25 March 2014 16:24

Idaho Lewis County Partners - History, Projects and Camas-Clearwater Technical Education Center

Idaho Lewis County Partners

History, Projects and Camas-Clearwater Technical Education Center

Idaho Lewis County Partners began in mid-2010 as a part of the Rural Idaho Outreach Partners that was started by Premier Technologies President and CEO Doug Sayer.  The RIOP concept was brought to our local area by Idaho County Commissioner James Rockwell.  In February of 2012 the current group of local partners began meeting regularly with hopes of increasing local education options and local businesses securing a potential of $2 million in contracts from Premier Technologies.  In the beginning the group had input and support from Premier.  After layoffs and decreases to the Idaho National Laboratory budget in mid-2012, it became apparent that the contracts from Premier were not likely to come our way.  The group changed its name to reflect a more local focus – Idaho Lewis County Partners.

The first goal of the group is to increase local educational opportunities, in order to create a larger, better educated local workforce.  High school students were identified as a starting point and the group felt most of the area youth did not know of the local employment opportunities in the two counties.  To begin addressing this issue, the Idaho Lewis County Partners coordinated a Career Expo for the 7 high schools in the two counties on October 3, 2012.  The Idaho Lewis County Career Expo had 33 employer exhibits from the two counties, app. 570 students and $3,050 in local funds raised for the event.  The students were surveyed afterwards and nearly 80% of the students said they found out about local jobs at the Career Expo that they had not known about before.   One of the major goals of the Career Expo was to increase the students’ awareness of local employment options and encourage them to consider the local area in their career choices.

Since February of 2012, the group has been looking at what options would be available to increase the educational opportunities for high school students and adult workforce in the local area.  The focus of the discussion has been towards professional technical education since the beginning.  Lewis Clark State College currently articulates around 60 credits with some of our local schools, meaning that students can graduate high school well on their way to getting a college degree.  The Region 2 Professional Technical Academy (R2PTA) began providing health care training with Nursing Assistant classes with one school (Prairie) and 5 students.  The school currently has 323 students enrolled in 5 courses at 26 schools.  The courses currently offered include Fundamentals for Health Professions, Medical Terminology, Nursing Assistant, Physical Therapy Aide and Pharmacy Technician.  ILCP initially considered expanding the R2PTA to include manufacturing and welding type courses.  The Coordinator of the R2PTA Professional Technical High School, Sheri Daly, suggested the group consider the model of a school in Hayden and invite Mark Cotner the Professional Technical Director of the Kootenai Technical Education Center (KTEC) to speak about his school.

Mark Cotner presented to the ILCP on January 15, 2013.  The Kootenai Technical Education Center is a partnership between 3 school districts and local industry.  The high school students that attend the school spend a couple of hours receiving instruction in their chosen program while earning math credits at the same time.  KTEC’s programs include Automotive Technology, Diesel Technology, Computer Repair & Networking, Health Professions/CNA, Construction Trades, Industrial Welding and Metal Fabrication, Resort Academy and Engineering Design & Automated Manufacturing.  The school utilizes state funding under statutes 33-317 and 33-1002G.

The February 19, 2013 meeting followed up on Mark’s presentation and to determine if the group wanted to work towards a school like KTEC.  The group of businesses, employers and schools is very interested in pursuing the development of a professional technical school.  During the weeks following the meeting, Mark made the group aware of an Albertson Foundation grant to develop similar schools called P-TECH model schools.  While the group was not successful in achieving this grant opportunity, the work that went into the grant further defined the project and helped to create a frame work for future grant applications.

The Idaho Lewis County Partner stakeholders include a consortium of health care and manufacturing businesses and organizations, other industries, five school districts, Lewis-Clark State College, economic development organizations, the Idaho Department of Corrections, the Idaho Department of Labor, other state agencies, community members, and the Region 2 Professional Technical Academy.    The ILCP is currently focused on a goal of opening a technical education center for the area.  The Camas-Clearwater Technical Education Center has its sights on opening in 2 years.  The goal for enrollment during the first year, approximately 70  11th and 12th grade students from Cottonwood, Craigmont, Grangeville, Kamiah, Kooskia, and Nezperce;  training to 80-100 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 Center plans to 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 Idaho Lewis County Partners hosted the 2nd Annual Idaho Lewis County Career Expo on October 2nd, 2013 at the Idaho County Fairgrounds.  Four hundred high school students attended the Career Expo from Clearwater Valley, Grangeville, Kamiah, Nezperce and Prairie high schools and Summit Academy.  Employers captured the attention of the students with great hands-on exhibits like the Idaho Transportation Department’s snow plow simulator, a Waratah feller head simulator (modern forestry tool), a Marine chin-up bar, a frontend loader, law enforcement tactical gear, and currency counters, just to name a few.  There were 37 exhibitors registered but the Bureau of Land Management, Army Corps of Engineers and Idaho Army National Guard were unable to attend due to the government shutdown. 

Students began the day with a general assembly where they were given bags from St. Mary’s Hospital and Clinics that included an event program, local career catalog, job seeking materials from the Idaho Department of Labor and the students learned what was expected of them for the day.  The schools were split into teams and took turns visiting the three exhibit areas and attending the educational breakout session hosted by Syringa Hospital on “Careers in Health Care.”  After lunch, students ended the day by turning in an event survey along with proof they visited at least 20 exhibits for a chance to win prizes donated by Inland Cellular.

“The exhibitors did a wonderful job of showcasing what employers are in the two counties,” said organizer Melisa Bryant of Ida-Lew EDC.  “Local employers from across Idaho and Lewis counties took time to talk with students about what career opportunities they have and what secondary and post-secondary education will help the students be successful in going to work for them.  The Career Expo is meant to show local high school students the many different careers that local employers have.  Students always seem surprised to learn that careers like Sales and Marketing Director, Product Development Engineer, Certified Public Accountant, Network Administrator, Machinist, Air Plane Mechanic, Evidence Technician, Biologist, Project Manager and Chief Executive Officer are available here!”

The Idaho-Lewis County Career Expo is made possible through generous sponsorship by area employers, organizations and businesses.  Additional information on the Career Expo, including a list of sponsors and event pictures, is available on the Ida-Lew EDC website:  http://www.ida-lew.org/index.php/projects/idaho-and-lewis-county-partners/item/121-idaho-lewis-county-career-expo-2013.

Starting in September 2013, the Idaho Lewis County Partners has been holding focus groups with local high school students, exploring a strategic plan and logic model for the technical education center, and working on grant opportunities:

High School Focus Groups:

The focus groups were separated by Juniors and Seniors, 12 visits were made with 3 of the area high schools. The groups discussed the effectiveness of alternative education models such as online and video conferencing.  Students were asked to consider the concept of the Technical Education Center and to discuss their thoughts on busing and travel to the central location.

Results from the focus groups - the majority of students:

·         Feel they do not effectively retain knowledge when learning strictly online but if partnered with hands-on and practical training it is better retained

·         Prefer hands-on learning

·         Feel if they would travel or make time sacrifices if they could graduate with a one year college certificate or industry certificate or standard (in a growing industry and training that would count towards their college degree)

·         Would welcome the opportunity to be able to do a non-paid internship/mentoring/job shadow experience as part of the education

Strategic Plan – Hiring a Full Time Development Person

In Melisa’s recent discussions with the University of Idaho on moving the Technical Education Center’s development forward, they explained that the things she said needed done are the same as putting together a strategic plan.  Melisa contacted Dr. Robert Ketchum, formerly from North Idaho College, to discuss working on the plan. The grant team would like to apply to the Avista Foundation in January for assistance.  Creating a strategic plan will give us a person concentrating on the school’s development and a plan to follow to continue developing the school when they are finished.  During the time the strategic plan is being worked on, we will be looking for the funds required to hire a full time development person for the school.

Developing a Simple Logic Model for the Camas-Clearwater Technical Education Center

At the end of October 2013, Melisa met with CEDA and the University of Idaho.  Christine Frei with Clearwater Economic Development Association provided her with a good blue print for developing a simple logic model.  This will allow us to communicate the purpose of the school and what we are trying to accomplish in a clear, concise and visual manner.

Potential Grant Opportunities:

There are four grants being reviewed for potential and applied for accordingly that are due between January and April.  They each have different capacities of funding, but may allow us to start developing sections of the technical education center in the next year.

Update on the Former Cottonwood Elementary School Building:

There have been initial discussions with St. Mary’s Hospital on leasing space at the site for records storage and possible expansion of the physical therapy department.  The new President, Patrick Branco, was extensively involved in education efforts in Ketchikan and we look forward to him being a great partner with much experience we can learn from here.

Potential Partnerships with Community College(s):

One of the grants that is being looked at has an element of a multi-state consortium and community college partnerships.  The grant is initially for offenders, but also recommends and supports the education being available to the community as well.

In the beginning of 2014, the Idaho Lewis County Partners established an educational foundation to support the development of the Camas-Clearwater Technical Education Center and to help advance professional technical education opportunities in the two counties.  The mission of the Idaho-Lewis County Technical Education Foundation (ILCTE Foundation) is to create local, industry driven workforce education opportunities for youth, under-employed or under-skilled adults and offenders to create a skilled workforce to fill living wage positions with local employers and grow the communities in Idaho and Lewis counties. The Foundation is a non-profit corporation able to receive tax deductible donations through a 501c3 eligible fund with the Idaho Community Foundation.  Currently the ILCTE Foundation is applying for grants and raising funds to develop a strategic plan and fund a position to develop the center.

The Idaho Lewis County Partners are also exploring the option of creating a local community college.  During a recent “Capital for a Day” event hosted by Idaho Governor Butch Otter, the Governor suggested the group consider his offer of $5 million to start a community college.  He strongly encouraged the community college to be a partnership of the two counties.

For more information about Idaho Lewis County Partners, please Melisa Bryant at (208) 983-8302 or melisa@ida-lew.org

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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