COEUR d'ALENE Three local leaders are taking their backgrounds and desire to help shape the future of Idaho's workforce to the state's 36-member Workforce Development Council.
John Young, president of Young Construction Group of Idaho based in Coeur d'Alene, is a returning member and will also serve on the council's five-member Executive Committee.
Coeur d'Alene Mayor Steve Widmyer is a newcomer to the council and one of nine government representatives.
Young and Mark Tattershall, who will represent the aerospace industry as vice president of sales and marketing for Unitech Composites in Hayden, are among 17 industry representatives on the council.
This is Young's third appointment to the group. He said he's excited to serve with the recently restructured council that was given more authority and independence to be industry-driven under an executive order signed by Gov. Butch Otter.
"I believe we can make a difference in how our future workforce is put together," Young said. "We know that kids need to be exposed to career choices in middle school rather than later."
Widmyer also brings a business background to the table.
"I look forward to working with talented leaders from across the state to make sure that Idaho has the workforce talent to succeed," Widmyer said. "Developing good, well-paying jobs strengthens Idaho families and strong families are important to having a good quality of life."
Widmyer said he believes the council will work on the current shortage of workers in some industries.
"A strong, vibrant economy takes a strong workforce," he said.
Tattershall, also new to the council, has 35 years of aerospace and defense business experience that includes domestic and international relations.
"My emphasis will be on bringing good-paying, long-term employment to Idaho," he said. "Aerospace is a great example of this and the flow down into the local economy means that many secondary jobs are created. As an example, my company recently won a number of (contracts) and expects additional ones to be announced within the next few months."
Until recently, the council had been advisory to the director of the Idaho Department of Labor. It weighed in on how to best allocate money for education and training programs from the Workforce Development Training Fund, but had little role in developing and implementing a statewide strategy.
The need for more direct industry involvement was emphasized during the 2017 legislative session. Wendi Secrist was also named to the new position of executive director, responsible for administrative support of the council.
Another recent change was forming the Executive Committee that will determine priorities for the full council.
"The increased emphasis on industry engagement and other changes are aimed at better reflecting the needs of Idaho employers and more directly influencing Idaho's workforce development policies and strategies," said Mark Warbis, Otter's communications director.
The council's next quarterly meeting is on Jan. 11.