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Idaho ready to give money to students who train for high-demand jobs

Idaho Governor Brad Little holds up a resolution he signed for the state's new Idaho Launch program. Little was was speaking to students and faculty of the Kootenai Technical Education Campus in Rathdrum.
Doug Nadvornick/Spokane Public Radio
The new Idaho Launch program for high school seniors who want to train for jobs in high-demand fields has begun taking applications.

Idaho high school seniors interested in working in high-demand careers now have a place to turn to help fund their job training. The state’s new Idaho Launch program is now taking applications from students.

Idaho Launch allows students in high demand careers such as nursing, carpentry and office work to qualify for up to $8,000 for college and workforce training programs.

It’s one of Governor Brad Little’s pet projects, funded by $80 million allocated last year by the legislature.

On Tuesday Little took a barnstorming tour of the state to promote Idaho Launch to high school seniors. Dozens who study at the Kootenai Technical Education Campus (KTEC) in Rathdrum came to hear his message.

“One of the best things about this is you can start here, go to work, continue getting your training, get your certification, and 80% of that will be paid for. And I have it on good authority that some of these employers over here might even help you with the other 20%," he said.

A state team will review the applications, giving preference to students who want to prepare to work in areas where worker shortages are most acute.

“I think this is one of the best things that’s happened in the state of Idaho," Dale Sprouse, an automated manufacturing instructor at KTEC.

"A lot of kids are wondering how they’re going to afford to be able to go to school. Even if they want to, oftentimes a lot of them can’t afford it and so this is a wonderful start. This is a great place to go," he said.

He says the career tech classes at the campus are mostly full. Many have waiting lists.

Sprouse and the governor say the Idaho Launch grants will be great incentives for students who want to pursue well-paying jobs and stay near home.

“Our goal in Idaho is to have you students choose to stay here, give you the tools and education and the skills so you can stay right here in Idaho," Little said.

One of the Northwest's most seasoned reporters is returning to his SPR roots. Doug Nadvornick will be heard frequently on KPBX and KSFC reporting on local news.