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  • III. Operational Planning Elements

    The Unified or Combined State Plan must include an Operational Planning Elements section that supports the State’s strategy and the system-wide vision described in Section II(c) above.  Unless otherwise noted, all Operational Planning Elements apply to Combined State Plan partner programs included in the plan as well as to core programs.  This section must include—

    • a. State Strategy Implementation

      The Unified or Combined State Plan must include–

      • 2. Implementation of State Strategy

        Describe how the lead State agency with responsibility for the administration of each core program or a Combined Plan partner program included in this plan will implement the State’s Strategies identified in Section II(c). above. This must include a description of—

III. a. 2. E. Partner Engagement with Educational Institutions

Describe how the State’s Strategies will engage the State’s community colleges and area career and technical education schools, as partners in the workforce development system to create a job-driven education and training system. WIOA section 102(b)(2)(B)(iv).

Current Narrative:

Idaho’s workforce development system engages the State’s six technical colleges (located at Idaho’s four Community Colleges, Lewis Clark State College, and Idaho State University) and secondary career and technical programs as partners in the workforce development system to create a job-driven education and training system. At the strategic level, this engagement will be carried out by three main entities: Idaho’s Workforce Development Council, Idaho Career Technical Education, and the Office of the State Board of Education. The specific efforts of these three entities are provided in more detail below.

Idaho’s STEM Action Center also plays an important role in engaging Idaho’s schools with science and technology through teacher professional development, connecting schools and students with grants and scholarships, and hosting educational camps and events.

Idaho Workforce Development Council

Several of Idaho’s workforce development strategies—as specified in the State Workforce Development Council’s Strategic Plan—are focused on education and training. Their goals include:

  • Increase public awareness of and access to career education and training opportunities.
  • Improve the effectiveness, quality, and coordination of programs and services designed to maintain a highly skilled workforce.
  • Provide for the most efficient use of federal, state, and local workforce development resources.

It is no coincidence that the state’s workforce development goals target education and training. As the WIOA State Board, Idaho’s Workforce Development Council includes a representative of the State Board of Education, the Administrator of Career Technical Education, a community college representative, two representatives of registered apprenticeship programs, and a representative of a community-based organization for out-of-school youth. These Council members provide a direct connection to job-driven education.

The Workforce Development Council has also directed the creation of Industry Sector Grants, Innovation Grants, and Idaho Launch using state Workforce Development Training Funds. These grants support job-driven training for in-demand occupations by requiring the collaboration of employers and education to meet employer-identified gaps in the workforce. The Industry Sector Grants are awarded to industry partnerships consisting of education providers and at least three employers within the industry providing a cash and/or in-kind match. These grants are used to develop training programs at educational institutions to provide industry with the skilled workforce it needs. The Innovation Grants are awarded to community-based teams representing employers, education and other community partners to provide training for specific in-demand skills in the local area. Idaho Launch began in November 2020 to provide an opportunity for any Idahoan to access short-term workforce training, aligned to employer needs. Launch pays for 75-90 percent of the cost of the training, up to $7,500, based on household income. The only requirement is that the individual plan to work in Idaho after completion of training.

Idaho Career Technical Education

Idaho Career Technical Education (ICTE), which administers both the WIOA Title II and Carl D. Perkins programs, is essential in connecting workforce programs with career and technical education, engaging the State’s technical colleges, and guiding the development of meaningful career pathways. ICTE also coordinates the state Workforce Training Network, which includes the directors of the Workforce Training Centers located at Idaho six technical colleges. The Workforce Training Network leverages best practices and develops statewide solutions to meet the talent needs of Idaho’s employers.

ICTE supports the career and technical programs at Idaho’s technical colleges through both state and federal funds. For the past four years, ICTE has used in-demand occupations to drive its postsecondary budget request to the State legislature. To guide this request, technical colleges identified programs where all graduates were being placed in in-demand, high-wage occupations and where extensive student waiting lists existed to access these programs. Based on this request, the Governor supported the request to have the Idaho State legislature provide an additional $4.75 million for adult education during FY21.

At the secondary level, ICTE is working to expand an incentive program driven by program quality metrics and alignment to industry needs. Within the efforts to improve program quality is an emphasis on technical advisory committees (TACs). All CTE programs (secondary and postsecondary) are required to have technical advisory committees; however, the effectiveness of these committees varies. ICTE is providing professional development for CTE faculty on creating high-impact TACs and has created a mechanism to allow for state-level review of the activities of local TACs to inform its strategic planning.

Idaho Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired

The Commission participates in all of the regional One-Stop activities. The Commission also provides on the job assistive technology assessment and training services for employers who have employees participating in the VR program at ICBVI. The Commission also conducts regional trainings about blindness and visual impairments periodically throughout the year that employers can participate in.

In Fall 2021, the Commission entered into an agreement with the VR Technical Assistance Center (VRTAC-QE) for intensive technical assistance with Business Engagement. The Commission is committed to improving and strengthening services to businesses in Idaho. In addition, the Commission works collaboratively with the Idaho Division of Vocational Rehabilitation to ensure a unified Title IV approach to state-wide business engagement activities.

The Idaho Office of the State Board of Education

The Idaho Office of the State Board of Education plays an important role in ensuring that workforce training programs at Idaho’s colleges are eligible for Title I-B individual training accounts, and to serve as Eligible Training Providers (ETPs). A group of education stakeholders from the board’s jurisdiction representing ICTE, private and proprietary schools, and the Workforce Training Network collaborated to develop WIOA ETP policies and data reporting requirements.

The postsecondary institutions expressed interest in continuing to provide occupational skills training under WIOA but faced challenges in implementing the Act’s more stringent performance reporting requirements for ETPs. In particular, the workforce training programs, preferred by employers, did not collect the level of student information required for WIOA reporting. The stakeholder group met for over a year to write policy and develop technical solutions. Most importantly, this group generated buy-in for the much-resisted data collection requirement.

State education staff worked to ensure that all programs within the state’s designated career pathways were included on the Eligible Training Provider List. The Office of the State Board of Education leveraged Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems grant funds to assist the schools in developing data collection systems for WIOA reporting.

The stakeholder group provided input for the final ETP Criteria, which was developed by the Workforce Development Policy Committee of the Council. These criteria, implemented since July 2018, serve to ensure that providers are WIOA compliant to meet the needs of Idaho residents seeking training through Title I-B services.