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90 tenth-graders to take part in new manufacturing pilot program

LEWISTON, Idaho – In an effort to help meet the workforce needs of regional manufacturers that produce with metal, 90 North Central Idaho 10th-graders will have the opportunity to earn a Northwest Intermountain Metal Manufacturing industry-recognized credential while in high school thanks to a new program supported by the Technical & Industrial Division at Lewis-Clark State College and its partners. 

The program, titled “Technical Career Pathways to Rural Manufacturing Using a Sector Approach to Support the Northwest Intermountain Metal Manufacturers,” will entail the recruitment of 60 students to be trained for mechanical computer aided design and drafting (CADD) technician positions and 30 students to be trained for electro-mechanical positions. Students are being recruited from 22 school districts in Latah, Lewis, Clearwater, Nez Perce, and Idaho counties and the Southeast Washington counties of Whitman, Garfield, and Asotin.    

“This program,” said LCSC President J. Anthony Fernandez, “is a perfect fit with LCSC’s increased emphasis on Career-Technical Education.” 

Lewis-Clark State has played a central role in the development of the coursework and training will include online learning, hands-on engineering technology activities, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) learning, and lifelong learning. The program starts March 5, 2018, with enrollment beginning in November. LCSC will host 30 of the students each summer for on-campus training and instruction. The two-year pilot program is being offered free of charge. 

Businesses expected to benefit from the workforce training program include ammunition and firearms makers, machine shops, a foundry, jet boat and trailer builders, and equipment manufacturers. These manufacturers have common workforce needs for drafters and designers, automated machining operators, and electronics technicians. 

During training, students will have opportunities to visit area manufacturing facilities and to enter a paid apprenticeship program. Each student will be assigned a mentor that will support them through the training and will earn high school credit for some of their coursework. After successful completion of the program, students will have the opportunity to enter the workforce or to pursue further education to receive advanced technical certificates and Associate of Applied Science or applied bachelor’s degrees. It is anticipated that some will pursue related degrees in engineering and like fields.  

Student recruitment is to be conducted through participating high schools. Student-Parent Nights will be hosted in Grangeville, Moscow, Orofino, Lewiston, and Clarkston. 

Lewis-Clark State College is offering the program in partnership with the University of Idaho, Northwest Intermountain Manufacturers Association, Clearwater Economic Development Association, Idaho Digital Learning, Idaho PTech, and the Idaho Department of Labor. This pilot initiative is being funded by the National Science Foundation. 

Anyone interested in the program can learn more by contacting Christine Frei at 208-746-0015 ext. 104 or cfrei@clearwater-eda.org