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Governor Otter and First Lady Lori Otter host Capital for a Day in Dayton,  
9 a.m., Dahle Performing Arts Center. 
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Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue

On July 2nd I headed north to Moscow with Lieutenant Governor Brad Little and Idaho State Department of Agriculture Director Celia Gould to meet with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. University of Idaho President Chuck Staben provided us with a very informative presentation highlighting the innovative advancements in agricultural research and forest health being made here in Idaho. The presentation focused on the university's groundbreaking developments in agricultural technology that are changing the industry and the marketplace. We also watched a demonstration on wildfire management and how technology is helping to make our communities and citizens safer. The work being done in Moscow and throughout the state will benefit Idaho's resource industries for years to come. 
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I was in Washington, D.C. on June 20th with officials from the Idaho Department of Commerce and some of our legislative leaders for the annual SelectUSA conference. The U.S. Department of Commerce uses the conference to showcase job-creating foreign investment opportunities in the United States. The SelectUSA program has become a major catalyst for economic development and a great way for states like Idaho to build stronger relationships with foreign investors. SelectUSA helps connect businesses large and small with international markets by providing investment guidance, navigating the federal regulatory system and advocating international marketing.  
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Western Governors' Association

I also traveled to South Dakota last month for the Western Governors' Association's annual meeting. U.S. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta spoke to us about the importance of growing a skilled, educated workforce and of maintaining strong interstate relationships. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke also spoke to WGA members about water regulations and the impact that western water supplies have on wildfires and environmental preservation. With wildfire season in full swing in Idaho and throughout the West, we all must do more to help ensure that our forests are managed to minimize the destructive impacts
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Idaho Youth ChalleNGe Graduation

My congratulations to the latest graduates from the Idaho Youth ChalleNGe Academy in Pierce. Lieutenant Governor Little and I met with the graduating cadre on June 15th for a picture on the Capitol steps in Boise. The Idaho Youth ChalleNGe Academy is a second-chance program for teenagers at risk, helping them to become responsible and productive citizens. I'm very proud of all the hard work and commitment to positive change displayed by these young men and women. It's incredibly rewarding to see Youth ChalleNGe cadets mature and overcome their personal challenges. So congratulations to them and to everyone involved in making this program such a great success!  
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Idaho National Guard Deployment
The First Lady and I traveled to Fort Hood Texas late last month to visit members of the Idaho Army National Guard's 1st of the 168th General Support Aviation Battalion as they completed preparations for a yearlong deployment to Afghanistan. About two-dozen Idaho troops will be participating in Operation Freedom Sentinel, using Black Hawk helicopters in a medevac mission in support of U.S. and allied forces. Miss Lori and I were able to wish the brave men and women of the Idaho Guard good luck and best wishes for a successful deployment and a safe return home.   
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First Lady Focus: Walgreen's Safe Medication Disposal

As First Lady and executive director of Truth208, I was pleased to be able to speak at the Walgreens Drug Takeback Kiosk launch on June 28. I truly feel that looking out for the educational development and well-being of Idaho's children is one of the most important responsibilities of my role.
I joined Lieutenant Governor Brad Little, U.S. Attorney Bart Davis, and Regence BlueShield of Idaho President Scott Kreiling at a press conference introducing the kiosks and showing our support for Walgreens. Safe medication disposal kiosks are now available in the following communities at these Walgreens stores:
  • Boise, 8100 W. Fairview Ave.
  • Nampa, 700 12th Ave. S
  • Pocatello, 905 Yellowstone Ave.
  • Ammon, 3475 E. 17th St.
  • Coeur d'Alene, 335 W Appleway Ave.
  • Twin Falls, 1732 Washington St. N
  • Lewiston, 2102 Nez Perce Dr.
  • Moscow, 414 N. Main St.
The expansion is part of a joint effort by AmerisourceBergen, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Pfizer, Prime Therapeutics and Walgreens to combat the national opioid abuse crisis. Together, they're increasing the availability of safe medication disposal kiosks to an additional 900 Walgreens drugstores around the country. When the expansion is complete, kiosks will be available in approximately 1,500 Walgreens stores nationwide.
I applaud this partnership between Walgreens, Regence BlueShield and others to expand the number of places we and our neighbors can conveniently and comfortably get rid of the prescriptions we no longer need or use.
Great job, Walgreens! I hope everyone will take the time to talk to your kids about the dangers of prescription drugs, and join me in ridding our homes of unneeded medications by taking them to the kiosks
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Agency Spotlight: 
Idaho Department of Labor

Apprenticeship Idaho Initiative Summary  
With the support of a nearly $2 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Apprenticeships, the Idaho Department of Labor has launched Apprenticeship Idaho - a collaborative effort with the Idaho Division of Career and Technical Education and other partners for meeting Idaho's growing workforce demands.
Registered apprenticeships have been proven to help successfully build a pipeline of workers that benefits both businesses and job seekers. The federal grant is intended to focus on occupations in the technology, health care and advanced manufacturing industry sectors.
There now are about 400 registered apprenticeship programs in Idaho with approximately 1,478 apprentices on the job. But participating companies are still working to fill available positions, and most are concentrated in traditional trades.
The Idaho Department of Labor and other partners have:  
  • Developed a vision and goals to create apprenticeships for businesses in targeted industry sectors;
  • Established a core team and dedicated staff to help with awareness, connect with the right training partners, recruit and leverage resources when available;
  • Worked on several apprenticeship programs statewide in such areas as health care, food processing, water/waste water treatment, mechatronics, boiler kiln, medical billing and coding, recreational vehicle technician, land surveying and cyber security;
  • Held events during National Apprenticeship Week to dispel myths surrounding apprenticeship programs, celebrate the successes of programs currently being offered, highlight the value around the apprenticeship model and demonstrate models currently being used to reduce turn over within an organization.
The Idaho Department of Labor partnered with St. Luke's Health System earlier this year on an apprenticeship program to meet the demand for more certified medical assistants in the Treasure Valley and Blaine County, starting with eight recruits. And Apprenticeship Idaho worked with the Idaho Technology Council to register a new junior software programming apprenticeship program called Code-to-Career.
Other organizations partner with Apprenticeship Idaho depending on the program, including the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship, Idaho AFL-CIO, PTECH, TechHelp and the Idaho Hospital Association.
Questions may be sent to John Russ at or (208) 332-3570 ext. 3303
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Recent appointments can be found on my website here.
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