Defining Post-Secondary: Idaho Works to Prepare Students for College & Career
August 4, 2017

The definition of college is changing. As Rod Gramer, president and CEO of Idaho Business for Education (IBE) says in a recent op-ed: post-secondary education no longer means just a four-year degree.

“The fact is that we need employees with all levels of postsecondary education—workforce-ready certificates and college degrees.”

Like many states across the country, the Gem State is facing a substantial workforce shortage in less than a decade. According to the Idaho Department of Labor, by 2024 the state will have 49,000 jobs that can’t be filled because candidates won’t have the necessary education.

That’s why state and national leaders as well as advocates like IBE are honing in on strengthening career and technical education (CTE). IBE recently released a report, in partnership with an independent research firm and national PIE Network partner America Succeeds, that evaluates strengths and weakness of Idaho’s current CTE programs and offers recommendations to ensure Idaho’s students are ready to succeed.

The IBE report was designed to inform the work of the governor’s Workforce Development Task Force which also released recommendations to strengthen CTE in Idaho earlier this summer.

After conducting more than a dozen interviews—ranging from the Idaho Department of Education, Labor Department to schools and technical colleges— IBE made 14 concrete recommendations, based on the following four principals:

  • Ensure students are graduating with applicable skills, experience and certifications
  • Focus policy interventions on aligning education and industry
  • Focus on the needs of the student
  • Create opportunities for students to continue their career journey

You can see a complete breakdown of the recommendations here.

While industry needs are unique to each community and region, the challenges and opportunities that Idaho faces may resonate with many advocates across the country. This report also includes research on programs in several states, including Iowa, Florida, Kansas, North Carolina, and Colorado.

Interested in connecting with Idaho Business for Education? Reach out.


Ashley Schmidt

Ashley is PIE Network's Senior Director of Member Engagement & Communications

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