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Coming Up:
 
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 17
 
First Lady Lori Otter and I attend the Republican Governors Association's quarterly Executive Roundtable, through Friday, Encore Las Vegas.
 
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Veterans Day  

Governor Otter with Medal of Honor recipient Art Jackson.

November 11th is one of the most solemn yet proud days of each year for American citizens as we remember our fallen heroes and all those who have gone into harm's way on our behalf. Veterans Day is the one day of the year when everyone is encouraged to thank the service men and women who have sacrificed so much to preserve our freedoms and American way of life. I hope everyone made this Veterans Day a meaningful one by reaching out to the veterans in their lives and showing appreciation for their service. Thanks to all our veterans, active duty military personnel and armed forces families.
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Creating the Highest Honor Idaho Can Bestow
 
I have spoken often about the great individuals - men and women - who make our state a shining example for the rest of the nation. This year I decided we should do more to recognize and salute the accomplishments of these truly great Idahoans. That's why this month I created the Idaho Medal of Achievement by executive order. That order also establishes a commission to look for extraordinary Idahoans living or dead so they can be singled out for "exceptional, meritorious and inspirational service to the people of Idaho."

The Idaho Medal of Achievement is made of 99.9-percent fine silver provided by northern Idaho's Hecla Mining Company, which is sponsoring the award. At over 19 troy ounces, it's a prestigious medal befitting an award designed to be the highest civilian honor our state can bestow. The idea is to highlight the contributions of those Idahoans whose life's work or acts go to the heart of what it means to be an Idahoan. We should celebrate these individual's lives, revel in their accomplishments, and hold them up as models to emulate. 
From left to right: former Supreme Court Justice Linda Copple Trout, Hecla Mining Company CEO and President Phil Baker, Governor Otter, PERSI board member Kirk Sullivan, and former Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa 
 
I named former Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa, Idaho Business for Education Chairman Skip Oppenheimer, PERSI board member Kirk Sullivan, and former Idaho Supreme Court Chief Justice Linda Copple Trout to the inaugural five-member Medal of Achievement Commission. The panel will review nominations submitted by the public and recommend five candidates to me for final consideration.

Now I'm asking for your help in identifying those individuals worthy of consideration. If you know of someone who you believe meets the criteria, please click the link below and tell us who should get the first awards, to be presented at a date still to be determined by the commission.

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WeBuildIdaho.org

On Thursday November 12th my office hosted the launch of the Idaho Associated General Contractors' new WeBuildIdaho.org Web site; an Internet portal for anyone looking to get a start in Idaho's fast-growing construction industry. Idaho is facing a shortage of skilled workers. While our state and economy are growing, employers are having more and more trouble finding qualified workers, especially in construction. With the help of WeBuildIdaho.org, individuals as well as colleges and professional-technical schools have an easy one-stop way to connect people and workers with employment opportunities. This Web portal was developed by Idaho AGC in collaboration with partners in the education and workforce development sectors of our State government. Thank you to all of the leaders in the construction industry and in our own departments of Commerce, Labor, Professional-Technical Education and our community colleges who helped make WeBuildIdaho.org a reality!
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Caldwell Prayer Breakfast

On Saturday November 7th I was invited to be the keynote speaker at the Caldwell Prayer Breakfast. It's a community event in my old hometown of Caldwell that's supported by many of the local churches as a way to bring the community together and talk about issues facing the city. It was a great chance for me to visit the community that I called home for so many years and talk to the leaders who are working to make Caldwell an even better place to live. Proceeds from the event go to students at Canyon Springs High School's apprenticeship programs in Caldwell. Thank you to everyone who joined me at the Caldwell Prayer Breakfast, as well as to Canyon Hill Church of the Nazarene for hosting the event.
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2015 Idaho Awards for Leadership in Industrial Energy Efficiency

On Wednesday November 4th I presented the Idaho Awards for Leadership in Industrial Energy Efficiency during the annual Energy and Green Building Conference in Boise. It was a great event where all of the energy leaders from across the state meet to discuss efforts they are making to reduce their energy footprint. We made six awards this year to such companies as ConAgra Foods, Davisco Foods, Dot Foods, and the J.R. Simplot Company to show our state's appreciation for their energy conservation and management efforts. Thank you to everyone who joined me at the conference and congratulations to all of our award recipients!
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First Lady's Focus : College Application Week

On Wednesday November 11th I had the privilege of attending National College Application week at Vallivue High School in Caldwell.  College Application Week is a nationwide program to help every high school student apply for a post-secondary degree. During my visit I was able to sit down with the Vallivue High School seniors while they worked on submitting applications on the State's new NextSteps.Idaho.gov Web site.

NextSteps is part of our new State initiative aimed at getting more students to continue their education after high school.  Students are able to go to the NextSteps site to apply for college and also the Idaho Opportunity Scholarship.  Steps in the Direct Admissions process are linked from the, "What do I do next?" page, where resources are listed at the bottom.  Resources also can be found on the "For Families" and "For Educators" pages.  In addition to information on Direct Admissions, a "Next Steps Admissions Tracker" is available.  The IACRAO College Guide includes a list of all Idaho colleges and universities, their fees, tuition, deadlines, etc. This Web site is aimed at taking much of the stress and guess work out of the college applications process.

Vallivue High had representatives on hand from four Idaho schools - the College of Western Idaho, the College of Idaho, Boise State University and the University of Idaho.  A representative from the Idaho State Board of Education was on hand to answer questions about Idaho's new initiative, and Strategies 360 was involved with arranging media coverage and press releases.  This year Idaho hosted College Application Week during the week of November 9-13.

Vallivue High School has been a state leader in connecting students to the online resources they need to proactively plan their college futures. The staff there is doing a great job for our kids and we appreciate all their hard work. Thank you to the folks at Vallivue for letting me join you for College Application Week and for hosting such a great program for your students.
For a list of participating schools, visit http://www.gotocollege.idaho.gov/

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Spotlight Agency: Idaho Department of Labor
 
Aligning education and training programs with the workforce demands of the state's industries is a priority for the Idaho Department of Labor. By 2022, Idaho jobs are projected to increase by 109,000 while the labor force is expected to expand by less than 14,000. This projected labor shortage, combined with meeting the workforce and training needs of Idaho industries, is driving a dynamic new level of partnership between business and education.

To meet the demand for Idaho talent, the Department of Labor is focusing its efforts on using Idaho Workforce Development Training Funds to create a pipeline of workers equipped with the skills that employers need today and for the future.
Competitive grants awarded to industry and education-based partnerships are being used to develop new or modify existing education and training programs necessary for filling industry based job-driven skills shortages.

These grants:
  • Are driven by industry workforce needs and targeted training programs
  • Involve three or more industry partners who will directly benefit from the training
  • Include an industry match of at least 25 percent
In early 2014, the Idaho Workforce Development Council awarded $1.8 million in grants for pilot projects at Boise State University, Idaho State University and North Idaho College.

Those projects resulted in three successful industry-education partnerships designed to address skill shortages in computer science, healthcare and the wood products industry:

Boise State University
received $1 million to expand its computer science program from 30 to 60 graduates a year for jobs that typically pay over $30 an hour. Industry partners Clearwater Analytics, Cradlepoint Inc., Focus IP Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co., Impact Sales Inc., Keynetics, MetaGeek and WhiteCloud Analytics contributed a total of $310,768 in match. By the end of 2014, 26 of 29 students enrolled in the program had internships or jobs in computer science. Applications for a second wave of scholarships reached 53 - nearly twice the number available for 2015-2016. 

Idaho State University
received $532,180 to develop the Treasure Valley Anatomy and Physiology Laboratories in Meridian. The new labs will allow ISU to expand its physical and occupational therapy programs. Industry partners St. Luke's Health System, Saint Alphonsus Health System and Blue Cross of Idaho contributed $141,709 in matching funds. The program enrolled 42 students in August 2014, including 12 from a partnership with the College of Idaho in Caldwell. The labs now are under construction and Idaho State University is hiring a laboratory manager.
 

North Idaho College
received $281,036 to develop a Wood Products Manufacturing Center for Excellence to train workers on industrial controls, saw filing and log scaling. Timber industry representatives say people with these skills are necessary to fill openings created by existing workers retiring or leaving the workforce. Industry partners Idaho Forest Group, Potlatch Corp. and Stimson Lumber Co. provided $93,679 in matching funds to train workers for jobs that pay $16 to $24 per hour. By the end of 2014, 20 students had completed certificates in Structured On-the-Job Training, ­11 earned state log-scaling licenses and 10 received certificates for positions as program logic controllers .
 
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Appointments
 
Chiropractic Physicians
Dr. Herbert Oliver - Boise
 
Early Childhood Coordinating Council 
JoLyn Sellin - Nampa
Mechelle Wilson - Boise
Paula Mason - Filer
Amanda Flores - Nampa
Beth Oppenheimer - Boise
Dr. Omair Shamim - Meridian
Christy Cronheim - Boise
 
Environmental Quality Board 
Kevin Boling - Coeur d'Alene
 
Fish and Game Commission
Derick Attebury - Idaho Falls
 
Idaho Rural Partnership 
Rick Keller - Chubbuck
 
Juvenile Justice Commission
Hon. Dayo Onanubosi - Nampa
Amanda Solomon - Kimberly
 
LINE Commission
Dr. Mark Todd Peters - Idaho Falls
 
Podiatry Board
Ione Springer - Caldwell
 
STEM Action Center Board
Dr. Charles R. Zimmerly - Chubbuck