Career & Technical Education (CTE) has evolved over the years and Treasure Valley Community College is proud to lead this change. Students are acquiring skills in advanced manufacturing, robotics, advanced welding, and other highly technical fields of study. Classrooms have been replaced with employers’ manufacturing headquarters, and students are finding employment before they even graduate college.

Leading this trend are the partnerships we are forging with business and industry. Companies are looking to TVCC for workplace learning solutions. Why? Because community colleges are nimble. We can quickly respond to shifting industry needs and create degree and training programs that meet the needs of the marketplace, preparing individuals for occupations in high-demand fields.

TVCC has been successful in building these partnerships by meeting with potential employer partners to listen and understand their needs, and then making the best recommendation on how the college can assist them.

And the solutions vary. For some businesses, an apprenticeship program may be appropriate, while work-based learning or an internship may be a better fit for another company. Regardless of the solution, these partnerships allow us to address the two most common issues being experienced by today’s workforce – closing the skills gap (the gap between the skills today’s workers have and the skills that today’s companies need from its employees) and meeting a need for skilled workers.

I am thrilled to announce a new partnership with Agile Homes and Stan’s Heating that is doing this in our community. Both companies are putting their money where their need is, and each has established scholarships for students interested in CTE and trade industries. The application for the scholarships is on our website. These dollars are often available in addition to any other financial support – like a grant or loan – students receive.

The idea for the Agile Homes scholarship started with just a quick conversation. Andrea Testi, Director of TVCC’s Center for Business, Workforce and Community Learning, was sitting next to Mike Smith, co-owner of Agile Homes, during a recent Snake River Economic Development Alliance meeting. As she discussed some needs in TVCC’s electrical apprenticeship programs, he leaned over and said, “I want to help and I want to set up a scholarship.” From there, he and his business partner Craig Smith started brainstorming with Testi who developed the new offering.

In addition to providing funding, Agile Homes’ scholarship also connects students to apprenticeship opportunities with their industry partners, including Powerhouse Electric, Shilo Plumbing and L&H Heating and Cooling. This gives students a chance to receive intensive, company-specific technical training while earning college credit. This model also helps employers build and develop a talent pipeline from the ground up, giving students the hands-on training they need to excel in the workforce.

In June, Brad and Megan Cook, owners of Stan’s Heating, also approached the TVCC Foundation to set up two $500 scholarships for students who are interested in any industrial trade program. This generous new scholarship will provide another pathway for students to explore and learn about all of TVCC’s CTE options. Thank you to these business partners for leading this new effort.

I am so proud that TVCC’s workplace learning programs continue to serve the needs of our local business community, enabling our region to reap the benefits of new capital investments and job creation, while ensuring TVCC remains a valuable partner in workforce development.

If your business would like to partner with TVCC’s CTE programs, please contact us to find out how we can help you grow your pipeline of skilled workers.

Dana Young is president of Treasure Valley Community College. The views and opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily represent those of The Argus Observer.

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