(Idaho Department of Education Press Release, September 6, 2023)

Boise–The Idaho Career Ready Students (ICRS) Council convened for the second time to award an additional round of grants to applicants looking to expand Career Technical Education (CTE) for students in Idaho schools.

To date, the program has received a total of 43 proposals. 41 of those were received following the council’s first meeting on August 1. Of those, eleven were granted awards by the council. The proposals cover funds for new programs, capital projects and existing program support and upgrades.

An award to Portneuf Valley Technical Education and Career Campus (PV-TEC), the largest of this meeting’s distributions, will serve to assist PV-TEC in creating a Career Technical Center. The council took note of the fact that this was the only area in Idaho without a regional Career Technical Center, and was eager to see the plan from PV-TEC, which includes repurposing an existing community building. PV-TEC acquired the structure for $12.5 million with additional assistance from R&M Steel and $2.5 million that was previously allocated to the project. The Career Technical Center will serve students from communities that do not have facilities in their own area to access CTE training.

The following grants were awarded for capital projects:

  • Portneuf Valley Technical Education and Career Campus in Pocatello was awarded $6,500,000 to fund technical education and career campus facility expansion.
  • Midvale High School in Midvale was awarded $1,058,000 to expand their agriculture education program facility.
  • Minico High School in Rupert was awarded up to $4,146,910 to fund a multi-program CTE expansion.
  • Kimberly High School in Kimberly was awarded up to $1,320,000 to expand their agriculture education facility.
  • Cassia Regional Tech Center in Burley was awarded $1,659,491 to expand their diesel program facility.
  • Wilder High School in Wilder was awarded $301,487 to expand their agricultural education facility.

The following grants were awarded to create new CTE programs:

  • Potlatch High School in Potlatch was awarded $989,198 to create a new forestry and natural resources program.
  • Firth High School in Firth was awarded $25,375 to create a new Certified Nursing Assistant program.
  • Hobbs Middle School in Shelley was awarded up to $54,475 to create a new welding pathway program starting in 7th grade.

The following grants were awarded for existing program support and upgrades:

  • Murtaugh Jr. – Sr. High School in Murtaugh was awarded $20,324 to update equipment in the existing agricultural welding shop and to expand their metal fabrications program.
  • Marsh Valley High School in Arimo was awarded $5,347 to purchase a lift for their existing automotive service technician and mechanics program.

The ICRS program reflects a historic $45 million investment in Idaho CTE. Grants are designed to increase the capacity of CTE in middle and high schools (grades 7 – 12) across the state by incentivizing districts to create programs that prepare students to meet local and regional industry workforce needs. ICRS funds are separate from the Division of Career Technical Education and reduce reliance on federal funds for CTE programs.

The Idaho Career Ready Students Council is an eleven-member group chaired by Superintendent of Public Instruction Debbie Critchfield. The council is made up of a variety of members from stakeholder groups around Idaho and is tasked with evaluating program applications received from local education agencies. Awards are granted based on factors such as partnership with local industry, the sustainability of the funded program and responsiveness to community and statewide workforce needs.

“With over $16,000,000 awarded today, it’s evident that our educational communities not only have a need when it comes to CTE, but that they’re motivated to take steps to capture funds and reform their programs for the benefit of their students and communities,” said Superintendent Debbie Critchfield. “As these grants hit our learning communities and this program matures, I’ll be eager to see how the work that the council did today will create opportunities for students and communities throughout Idaho.”

Idaho school districts interested in learning more about eligible expenses or applying for the program can do so here at any time. Requests may be submitted throughout the school year. Questions can be directed to program coordinator Allison Duman at aduman@sde.idaho.gov.

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