KTEC Inspires North Idaho Fabrication Businesses

Metal workers and welders build the backbone of our country. At KTEC – The Kootenai Technical Education Campus in northern Idaho, our American Graduate – Getting to Work team discovers a welding course taught so well it led one student into creating a small business fabricating structural and ornamental pieces for homes and businesses.

Meet Jackson Costa, owner of Costa Fabrication, and check out some of his unique creations in metal.

Which Jobs Will Still Exist in 2030?


Robotics and computer automation have been around for decades. So how will the increase in intelligent machines in the workplace affect the number and types of jobs available in the coming years?

This story from NPR highlights the findings of a new report from economists at the McKinsey Global Institute. Their research finds automation widening the gap between urban and rural areas and dramatically affecting people who didn’t go to college or didn’t finish high school.

It also projects some occupations poised for massive growth or growing enough to offset displaced jobs. Find out which career paths hold the most promise for growth (some of which don’t require a bachelor’s degree).

Which Are the Biggest Industries in Your State?

Way We Were

Between the years 1940 and 2016 (the latest date for which information is available), there was a dramatic shift in American industry. Manufacturing, once one of the country’s dominant industries and biggest employers, lost ground in a number of states.

Which industries are now the largest employers in your state? Administrative services? Healthcare? Banking and financial?

The Way We Were: The Changing Geography of US Manufacturing, a new report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW), provides interactive tools that let you explore the shift in manufacturing jobs and discover what career fields are rising to replace them.

Congratulations to Filmmaker Justin Buss!

Photo credit: Maggie O’Mara
Filmmaker and high school senior Justin Buss, recently featured in this American Graduate: Getting to Work video, was awarded an Emmy Award for “Student Production – Short Form Fiction” at this weekend’s 56th National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Northwest Chapter Emmy Awards ceremony.

Buss, a student at Mountain View High School in the West Ada School District, was joined at the awards ceremony in Seattle by his film teacher, Michael Gartner, as well as family, friends and classmates.

As if winning an Emmy was not impressive enough, Buss and his crew of filmmakers were also awarded the “Best Cinematography – Open” prize at i48: The Idaho 48-Hour Film Festival for their film Interceptors.

Earn While You Learn With JATC

In this video from American Graduate: Getting to Work, discover a career path that pays well while avoiding the burden of student debt.

The Eastern Idaho Electrical Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (JATC) offers standardized training that allows students to earn while they learn the intricacies of the electrical construction industry. This is a high-demand career field that pays a livable wage.

The JATC apprenticeship program, based in Pocatello, is a five-year training open to students of any age who meet the criteria listed below. Unlike a traditional college degree program that can lead to a mound of student debt, the JATC program pays its apprentices to work while they learn. “With us, you have a job, you’re earning a living, you’re putting into your retirement, you have health insurance your whole five years,” says James Smith, training director at Eastern Idaho Electrical JATC.

Applicants for the program need only to be 18 years old, have a driver’s license, have earned a GED or high school diploma, and have some high school or college algebra.

Josh Wheeler, vice president of administration at Wheeler Electric Inc., reiterates the value of the JATC apprenticeship, even for those who are considering a traditional college degree. Wheeler Electric started working with the JATC program shortly after becoming a business. “Go through a five-year program, come out with no debt while earning an excellent wage and benefits package, and I’ve done you better than free college,” Wheeler says. “This is as challenging and as valuable as a four-year college degree.”

How Crucial Is Training Beyond High School?

A Stronger Nation

According to A Stronger Nation, a report from Lumina Foundation, by the year 2025, 60 percent of Americans will need some type of high-quality credential (degree, training or certification) beyond high school to find their place in the workforce.

Idaho’s attainment rate is currently 41 percent, and the state is working toward that 60 percent goal. But the report also shows disparity between Idaho counties, which makes the promotion of technical skills training and apprenticeship programs in rural areas even more critical.