ONTARIO — There has been a long-time shortage of workers in the construction industry and people in the crafts, such as electricians and plumbers, pick layers. However but businesses, trade and workforce development schools have been stepping up to the plate to help get people trained working in those jobs.

In fact, two local businesses are offering incentives for people interested in taking the training for one of those occupations as an apprentice, taking class work through Treasure Valley Community College and then become a student apprentice in one of the trade professions.

Agile Home, a home-builder based in Fruitland, has created a scholarship program for students in TVCC’s electrical plumbing apprenticeship programs. The company will provide approved students up to $500 toward class fees, and an additional $500 may be awarded if the apprentices work under one of Agile Home Trade Partners, Shilo Plumbing and Powerhouse Electric. 

To be eligible, students must show they intend or are enrolled in TVCC’s apprenticeship programs and show a financial need — and priority will be given to those who have a relationship with the Boys & Girls Club in Ontario or Payette.

In addition to Shilo Plumbing and Powerhouse Electric, priority will also be given to students apprenticing with L & H Heating and Cooling.

“By investing investing in our youth and young adults, Agile Homes will be a part of building our next generation  of skilled trades professionals,” the company said in a statement explaining the purpose of the scholarships.

Brad and Megan Cook, of Stan’s Heating and Cooling, have also set up a scholarship in conjunction with the Treasure Valley Community College Foundation to help local high school seniors who want to obtain trade school certification. 

According to a document explaining provisions of the scholarship, two students will be awarded $500 annually to be used for tuition fees or books. Criteria for their selection include student interest in pursuing a career in a technical trade, students must graduate within a 30-mile radius of Stan’s Heating and students will need to show experience and knowledge of community service.

“TVCC works to help build the workforce,” said Abby Lee, college spokeswoman.

She commented that it is a partnership that will help people job training, encourage students to come to school and take their learning from the classroom to a workplace. 

These programs are four-years and the scholarships are renewable for each year, Lee said. 

Benefits of the local program include in-person industry led instruction and small classes. Students will receive 8,000 hours of training.

Both programs are approved in Idaho and Oregon and HVAC will be coming.

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