INL and Boise State partner to help Butte County

Idaho National Laboratory and Boise State University have partnered to bolster the Butte County economy.

INL contractor Battelle Energy Alliance awards thousands of dollars in technology-based economic development grants annually throughout Idaho. This year the Alliance awarded $17,500 to help BSU’s Idaho Policy Institute implement three projects in Butte County. The grant was one of the Alliance’s largest awards of 2017, an INL news release said.

The projects are geared to give Butte County residents more of the skills and tools they need to prosper, the release said.

The first project is for BSU staff to teach entrepreneurial skills to local business owners and residents.

Monica Hampton, Butte County’s economic development director, said the training won’t be a one-time event.

“They’ll train me, and then I can continue that education,” she said in the release.

The second project is for BSU to provide a technical staff, consisting of a faculty member and a student assistant, to build a website for the county to direct visitors to the area’s many attractions and events.

The goal, Hampton said, is not only to offer potential visitors a place to begin, but also to use this space to market existing businesses and encourage startups.

“We are trying to bring more tourists here,” Hampton said in the release. “But as a region, we do need to make sure we continue to do a good job working together.”

The final project is to showcase the county’s pride in its history, and proximity to the nation’s lead nuclear research and development laboratory, the release said. University facilitators will work with community members to determine how best to achieve that goal, whether it’s through a public art project, signage or some other effort.

“That’s what I really like about this project,” Amy Lientz, INL’s director of partnerships, engagement and technology deployment, said in the release. “It promotes economic development, entrepreneurship and innovation in a way that fits the people in Butte County and will continue to serve them for many years.”

As for Butte County and the 2,622 people who call it home, results will be measured in how they wield their new tools.

“This is a place where results matter,” Hampton said in the release, “and we plan to make the most of this opportunity.”

Chemigation licensing and training seminars

The Idaho State Department of Agriculture announces a series of free training seminars for those seeking a pesticide applicator license for chemigation or for those wanting to learn more about Idaho’s chemigation requirements.

The upcoming training seminars will be followed by a special exam session for those interested in obtaining the chemigation category license. The training also will include information for licensed chemigators. One recertification credit will be offered for licensed applicators who attend the seminar. Exam fees are $10 per exam for professional applicators. Private applicators are exempt from exam fees.

Area seminars will be at 9 a.m. May 23 at the Bonneville County Extension Office, 2925 Rollandet St., and 9 a.m. May 24 at Blackfoot City Hall, 157 N. Broadway.

Register by emailing Westy Pickup, chemigation program specialist, at westy.pickup@isda.idaho.gov. The attendee’s name, phone number and selected session must be included. For information, call Pickup at 208-736-4759, Kevin Kostka at 208-332-8608 or the nearest ISDA field office.

Business workshop Saturday

SCORE is hosting a Spring Business Essentials Workshop from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Idaho Innovation Center, 2300 N. Yellowstone Highway.

Topics included in this workshop are writing a business plan, financing options, social media, business law, bookkeeping and marketing.

Registration is required. Call 208-523-1022.

Industry grant applicants sought

The Idaho Department of Labor is seeking applicants for industry sector grants of up to $250,000 each to help employers develop training solutions to fill skill gaps and address employment shortages. Funding for the awards, not to exceed $1 million, was recently approved by the Idaho Workforce Development Council.

Applicants must consist of at least three business/industry partners with similar occupational training needs. Before submitting an application, the industry consortium will need to meet with the Department to identify skill gaps, develop a targeted list of industry occupations that address current and projected employment needs and select a training solution. Grant applicants must provide either a 25 percent cash match, a 100 percent in-kind match or a proportionate combination of the two.

Projects will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. All partners must meet current business requirements for receiving an Idaho Workforce Development Training Fund grant, which can be found at labor.idaho.gov/wdtf. Complete details and application form for the industry sector grants are available at labor.idaho.gov/industrygrants.

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