For 66 years, Americans have relied on the Occupational Outlook Handbook when making decisions about their future careers. Since 1948, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has published a new version of the handbook every two years. Since the mid-1990s, the book has been published online.
In December, the bureau unveiled the 2014-15 publication. For the next two years, when you read articles or hear presentations about occupations in the U.S., the information will likely be based on the handbook. It is the ultimate source of information about tasks, conditions of work, wages, outlook, skills and training for hundreds of occupations.
Employers and people who want rewarding careers are taking a second look at a historic training method that may solve some 21st century problems. Several states believe apprenticeship programs can help them compete globally, and European nations using apprenticeships have lower youth unemployment rates.
With soaring tuition keeping young people out of school and employers finding it hard to hire skilled workers, apprenticeships are gaining traction during this time of rapid technological change and intense global competition. This time-honored method of training gives today’s workforce entrants 21st century skills without incurring debt. They earn while they learn the things they actually use on the jobs, and they see theory put into practice.
Under the eye of mentors, apprentices learn on the job and in class. In many cases, the education in a highly skilled field is free. Apprentices work from two to six years – usually about four – to become journeymen certified as competent in all major aspects of their occupations. Continue reading
The Great Recession is still fresh in many minds. Unemployment and underemployment are still realities both nationwide and in Idaho.
And even though unemployment has been falling, the structure of Idaho’s economy and job market has changed since the expansion of the mid-2000s.
Like the rest of the nation, Idaho saw manufacturing jobs decline 12 percent from 2006 to 2013. Nationally the loss was 16 percent, and Idaho’s performance may be the result of the significance of agricultural processing in its manufacturing sector. There has been a boom in dairy processing in south central Idaho over the last few years, and food manufacturing continues to have an important presence in other regions as well. Continue reading
Here is a roundup of regional economic news compiled by the Idaho Department of Labor in February:
Benewah, Bonner, Boundary, Kootenai & Shoshone counties
- North Idaho College, the Idaho Department of Labor and the three largest wood products manufacturers in northern Idaho have teamed up to develop an NIC Wood Products Manufacturing Center of Excellence. The center will train the next generation of workers in an industry that provides nearly one in four manufacturing jobs in Idaho’s 10 northern counties and has strong potential for growth. The Wood Products Manufacturing Center for Excellence is funded through a $281,000 Idaho Department of Labor grant. Idaho Forest Group, Potlatch Corp. and Stimson Lumber Co. are matching 25 percent of the grant. Beginning in March, the program will enroll 116 participants over two years with the focus on training workers for industrial controls, saw filing and log scaling.
- Northern Idaho faces a shortage of primary care physicians within the next five to seven years, but local medical professionals have a plan to provide them. Idaho doesn’t have its own medical school. It partners with Washington, Wyoming, Alaska and Montana to fund a medical school at the University of Washington in Seattle to educate doctors. Historically, Idaho has funded about 20 positions for Idaho students. Last year, the Legislature expanded that to 25, and many hope it will add five more this year. Kootenai Health in Coeur d’Alene recently created a primary care residency program, which will allow more of those medical school graduates take residency in Idaho. Idaho has the best retention rate in the nation. About 51 percent of resident doctors stay in Idaho to practice.
While many 16-year-olds are thinking about getting their driver’s licenses and passing pre-calculus, one southern Idaho high school student has much larger aspirations. Jared Lott, a junior from Filer, has big dreams of one day becoming a pediatric oncologist.
In addition to his full high school class schedule, Jared is taking college level medical terminology and health occupation classes and works at a local assisted living facility. In the midst of this, he had been fighting a two-year battle with leukemia.
On June 5, 2010, Jared was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. In and out of hospitals, Jared missed out on a lot of school, but that didn’t stop him. He began teaching himself the subjects he was missing, even enrolling in a dual credit honors English class through the University of Idaho so he could begin to receive college credits.
Community leaders and economic development professionals are typically interested in the types of businesses that should be added to their local economies. Any answer comes against the backdrop of the existing business mix that is the result of a century or more of economic evolution and market forces.
But in some cases industry growth struggles to keep up with population growth.
Madison County was Idaho’s fourth fastest growing county between 2000 and 2012 when its population increased 36 percent – almost 10,000 residents. Much of the growth was spurred by the transition of two-year Rick’s College into four-year Brigham Young University-Idaho. But neighboring Jefferson and Teton counties were also in the top-five fastest growing counties in the state.
A long-range plan called Envision Madison is under way in Madison County to ensure the community remains economically viable while maintaining its quality of life as growth continues. City planners and government leaders – and entrepreneurs looking for the next business idea – are hunting for strategies to facilitate continued natural growth. Fortunately there are a few statistical tools that can aid the process. Continue reading
Why are we are now required to include work search contact details on our weekly continued claim reports?
We have always required job seekers to keep records of their work search contacts. What’s changed is now you can save yourself some time by using our work search log to gather the information and enter it electronically in your weekly continued claim report, allowing us to capture the information in a timelier manner.
Last time I claimed unemployment insurance, I didn’t have to look for work during a seasonal layoff because I planned to go back to work for the same employer. What happened?