BURLEY — New apprenticeship programs are being developed in Mini-Cassia that will allow students to test drive a career, learn skill sets for specific jobs and provide companies with future employees.
The School to Registered Apprenticeship Program, which launches mid-November, will allow students to work paid summer jobs with the companies. Upon completion students will earn a federal certification.
The Idaho Department of Labor, College of Southern Idaho, Cassia County School District, Minidoka County School District and industry sponsors Fabri-Kal, High Desert Milk and McCain Foods collaborated to develop the two-year class for high school students.
“This is really exciting because it is industry-driven and it’s the first time the two school districts have worked together on a project like this,” said Karla Robinson, the controller at High Desert Milk, which is paying the first-year teacher’s salary.
The three companies helped develop the class curriculum based on industry needs.
The machine operator class is open to high school juniors and seniors in both school districts and will be held at Mount Harrison Junior/Senior High School before school. The central location was chosen because the companies said the districts needed to work together, said Debbie Critchfield, the spokeswoman for Cassia County School District.
The class is operating as a pilot program in Cassia County. If it works well, the program will be expanded to include the high schools in the outlying communities, said Curtis Richins, director at Cassia Regional Technical Center.
Students are responsible for transportation to the class and sign a performance contract with the company that includes being on time.
“It’s treated just like a job,” Richins said, “and the students have to apply for the position.”
Students are also guaranteed pay raises as they reach company-established benchmarks. The machine operator class includes 144 classroom hours and 2,000 training hours on the job with one of the three sponsoring companies.
While they’re on the job, the students get paid between $10 and $12 an hour.
“I think all manufacturers are feeling the squeeze of the low unemployment rate in the area,” Robinson said. “We need to get the word out that there are some really good jobs here.”
The program’s leaders also hope to shift a narrative that paints manufacturing as low-skill or low-wage work. In fact, they said, many manufacturing jobs are high tech, and companies need skilled employees.
“After 30 days on the job a new employee here is still not trained,” Robinson said.
The program has been in the works for two years. It had to be approved by the U.S. Department of Labor because there are rules regarding minors working in heavy industry. Similar programs have been successful in Northern Idaho, but this is the first time it’s being attempted in the Magic Valley.
Minico High School launched an industrial maintenance training program last year, but it is yet to meet the approval of the U.S. Department of Labor, said Chet Jeppesen, a workforce consultant with the state’s labor department.
The program’s second year will also begin mid-November.
A third program, diesel technology, is still under development, with a planned start in January.
Justin Tate, a diesel technology teacher at Minico High School, said the first year of the industrial maintenance program, which is held at Minico High School, was very successful.
Twenty students signed up for the class and 16 completed the first year.
“Every student had employment that wanted it over the summer,” he said, and the pay range was $12 to $14 per hour. “It was not entry-level pay.”
Now, the two-semester course counts as a one-credit elective at the high school level, but they are working to get it approved for CSI credit.
Chad Evans is a heavy duty diesel technology instructor at CRTC. He said diesel techs are in great demand across the Magic Valley in many sectors.
“Just look around at our ag base,” he said.
Evans used to work for a Kenworth dealership in Mini-Cassia and said hiring employees that want to stay in the area was always challenging.
“Every shop wants the superstar to come right to work for them,” Evans said. “But those people already have good jobs with companies who are willing to pay to keep them.”
The new diesel tech apprenticeship program will allow students to make $14 to $16 per hour out of high school and $20 to $22 per an hour a few years after, Evans said.
“I think the program will be pretty cool,” said Quintin Ward, a CRTC diesel tech student. “This will allow us to get experience and good pay and be a step ahead of everybody else.”
Ward has already invested about $3,000 in tools in preparation for a career in diesel technology, and he plans to apply for the program.
Jeppesen, the state labor consultant, said the area’s youth tend to leave after high school.
“Forty percent are going to college, but where is the other 60 percent going?” he said. “Why not integrate that 60 percent into the workforce? These are good jobs here with good pay and benefits.”
The program can also give students a way to earn money through college.
Stotz Equipment, which sells and repairs John Deere equipment in Burley, is one of the sponsors of the diesel technology apprenticeship program.
Store manager Victor Caratachea has worked with companies in other states that had successful apprenticeship programs.
Now, he said, “It’s about growing our own.”
The program starts with holding career fairs so students can check out the kinds of jobs available in an industry, Caratachea said.
“In the old days you’d think of a mechanic as being dirty with a wrench in their hands, but in reality today they have a laptop in their hands,” he said. “Ninety percent of it is technology-based.”
The company also works to retain employees and has a generous college tuition program and tool allowance for employees who go to college, with a debt-forgiveness program if the employee stays three years.
“I don’t want any of my guys looking at their check and wondering how they will make it to the next one,” Caratachea said. “I want them to be happy and to think that it is a great place to work.” said Chet Jeppesen, a workforce consultant with the Idaho Department of Labor said.
“This is a first in the Magic Valley,” Jeppesen said.
High Desert Milk stepped up to pay the first-year teacher’s salary, Curtis Richins, director at Cassia Regional Technical Center said.
PAUL — Authorities are close to hashing out how to oversee hundreds of thousands of dollars left to the Minidoka County animal shelter in a hand-written will.
Diane Marie Gellings, 64, died June 8 at her home. She left the house and more than 7 acres of property with outbuildings to the shelter.
“My hopes are to distribute the bulk of the money by January,” said Don Chisholm, an attorney for Gellings’ estate.
The sale of the estate brought in more than $300,000 — a windfall for a shelter that’s operated on a shoestring budget for years.
“That should go a long ways in making it better for the dogs in the Minidoka County shelter that are stray or abandoned,” Chisholm said.
Now, the question is how to allocate and oversee the cash from the sale of the estate.
The lawyer originally proposed that the members of the Minidoka County Joint Powers Animal Control board serve as board members for the Minidoka County Animal Shelter Trust that has been formed to control the money.
The lawyer’s latest proposal asks the county commissioners to appoint three board members not on the animal control board and with staggered terms, so there will always be people on the board with experience. No two members can be appointed from the same city.
The trust agreement also states that the money is to be used to construct or improve facilities, equipment for personnel or veterinary care and to avoid euthanasia when possible. The trustees have to obtain a tax-exemption status so the money will not be taxed and taxable deductions can be accepted by the trust.
Chisholm said in a document sent to commissioners on Oct. 19 that there is a consensus among the parties that a smaller board would operate more efficiently.
“I haven’t had any direct feedback from the commissioners yet,” he said.
Gellings left the property to the Minidoka County dog pound, which does not exist, and the joint powers board, which consists of members from the cities of Rupert, Heyburn, Paul, Minidoka and Acequia along with the county, could not receive the property.
Chisholm hopes to get the agreement signed in November and have board members appointed in December.
“It’s going to make a really huge impact for animal control,” Rupert Administrator Kelly Anthon said.
Rupert took over the animal shelter in 2012 after a few rocky years left it almost bankrupt. The city moved the shelter from Paul to a city-owned building in Rupert.
The $90,000 budget that comes from contributions from each governing entity runs on a shoestring, Anthon said.
“I agonize over the budget and keep a close eye on it,” Anthon said.
Last year, he said, the shelter had one of the lowest euthanasia rates in the country, under 1 percent.
“The shelter only puts down dogs that are injured or dying,” Anthon said.
The lower euthanasia rates is not only good for the dogs but also saves money, he said.
The shelter has also worked to get more dogs adopted locally, which went from 13 percent in 2014 to 35 percent last year.
Anthon said once a board is established for the Gellings trust, it will determine how the money is used. The money will likely be used for capital improvements and a new building has not been ruled out.
“The truth is the building it’s in now is a workable facility,” the administrator said, “but it was never meant for the long term.”
But there will be no rash decisions to build something new, he emphasized.
Said Anthon: “This money should help animal control for decades.”
If you do one thing: Magic Valley Arts Council and Full Moon Gallery of Fine Arts and Contemporary Craft will hold an artist reception and open house for the “Deck the Walls” exhibit from 5 to 7 p.m. at Twin Falls Center for the Arts, 195 River Vista Place. Free.
NEW YORK — Federal prosecutors brought terrorism charges Wednesday against the Uzbek immigrant accused in the truck rampage that left eight people dead, saying he was spurred to attack by the Islamic State group's online calls to action and picked Halloween because he figured streets would be extra crowded.
Even as he lay wounded in the hospital from police gunfire, Sayfullo Saipov asked to display the Islamic State group's flag in his room and said "he felt good about what he had done," prosecutors said in court papers.
Saipov, 29, was brought to court in a wheelchair to face charges that could bring the death penalty. Handcuffed and with his legs shackled, Saipov nodded his head repeatedly as he was read his rights in a brief court proceeding that he followed through a Russian interpreter. He was ordered held without bail.
Outside court, his appointed lawyer, David Patton, said he hoped "everyone lets the judicial process play out."
Late Wednesday, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to say that Saipov should get the death penalty.
Also Wednesday, Trump called for quick repeal of the 1990s visa lottery program that Saipov used to come to the U.S. in 2010, and the Republican said he would consider sending Saipov to the Guantanamo Bay detention center — an idea the White House reinforced by saying it considered Saipov to be an "enemy combatant."
Hours later, Saipov was charged in federal court with providing material support to a terrorist group and committing violence and destruction of motor vehicles, resulting in death. Trump's administration could, at least in theory, still send the suspect to the U.S. base in Cuba later, though such a step would be unprecedented.
"There's no legal impediment to that," said Bryan Broyles, the former deputy chief defense counsel for the Guantanamo military commissions.
Trump ordered still tighter scrutiny of immigrants already subject to what he calls "extreme vetting." But the White House offered no indication of what new steps the president might be planning.
"We have to get much tougher, much smarter, and less politically correct," Trump said. He also said the U.S. justice system for dealing with such cases must be strengthened, declaring, "What we have right now is a joke and it's a laughingstock." Again, there was no elaboration from the White House.
Trump took to Twitter early Wednesday to blame Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat who represents New York, for the bipartisan visa program used by the suspect to enter the country in 2010. Schumer did back the lottery program as a member of the House when it was approved with the support of both parties in 1990. It was signed by Republican President George H.W. Bush.
Meanwhile, the FBI was questioning a second person from Uzbekistan, 32-year-old Mukhammadzoir Kadirov. A law enforcement official said Kadirov was a friend of Saipov's and may not have any role in the case. The official wasn't authorized to speak publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Prosecutors said Saipov had 90 videos and 3,800 photos on one of his two cellphones, many of them ISIS-related pieces of propaganda, including images of prisoners being beheaded, shot or run over by a tank.
Saipov left behind knives and a note, in Arabic and English, that included Islamic religious references and said, "Islamic Supplication. It will endure," FBI agent Amber Tyree said in court papers. "It will endure" commonly refers to ISIS, Tyree said.
Questioned in his hospital bed, Saipov said he had been inspired by ISIS videos and began plotting an attack about a year ago, deciding to use a truck about two months ago, Tyree said.
During the last few weeks, Saipov searched the internet for information on Halloween in New York City and for truck rentals, the agent said. Saipov even rented a truck on Oct. 22 to practice making turns, and he initially hoped to get from the bike path across lower Manhattan to hit more pedestrians on the Brooklyn Bridge, Tyree said.
He even considered displaying ISIS flags on the truck during the attack but decided it would draw too much attention, authorities said.
John Miller, deputy New York police commissioner for intelligence, said Saipov "appears to have followed, almost exactly to a T, the instructions that ISIS has put out."
It was not clear whether Saipov had been on authorities' radar. Miller said Saipov had never been the subject of a criminal investigation but appears to have links to people who have been investigated.
In Tuesday's attack, Saipov drove his speeding truck for nearly a mile along a bike path near the World Trade Center, running down cyclists and pedestrians, then crashed into a school bus, authorities said. He was shot in the abdomen after he jumped out of the vehicle brandishing two air guns, one in each hand, and yelling "God is great!" in Arabic, they said.
The attack killed five people from Argentina, one from Belgium and two Americans, authorities said. Twelve people were injured; nine remained hospitalized in serious or critical condition.
On the morning after the bloodshed, city leaders vowed New York would not be intimidated and said Sunday's New York City Marathon, with 50,000 participants and some 2 million spectators anticipated, will go on as scheduled, with increased security.
TWIN FALLS — Twin Falls City Council incumbents are outspending and out-campaigning their challengers, according to new finance reports.
Candidates were required to file campaign disclosure statements by Tuesday. In Twin Falls, they’re competing for three seats currently held by Suzanne Hawkins, Greg Lanting and Christopher Reid.
City elections in odd-numbered years typically don’t trigger high-dollar campaigns, and some of this year’s challengers hadn’t raised any contributions to their campaigns this filing period — unlike the incumbents.
Reid’s opponent, Brian Bell, hasn’t spent anything, according to his reports, nor has he solicited any contributions. And Lanting is the only one in his race who has solicited contributions — no surprise, he also outspent his opponents.
Hawkins, meanwhile, faces three challengers and appears to be getting a run for her money from challengers Eric Smallwood and Liyah Babayan.
Here’s a quick look at the numbers from the disclosure reports this filing period. The reports are available to view in full on the city’s website, tfid.org.
$497.76 — What Christopher Reid spent on his campaign, mostly at Vistaprint.com, Facebook and Standard Printing.
$725 — What Reid brought in for contributions. His biggest single donation was $400 from Ken Romney.
$4.44 — What Larry Houser spent on his campaign (at Office Max). All of it was his own money, and he hasn’t raised any donations.
$301.58 — What Tim Allen spent, all of it his own money. He hasn’t raised any outside contributions, either.
$1,830.10 — Lanting’s expenditures, mostly made to local media outlets. He’s raised $1,710 in contributions.
$1,000 — What Idaho Association of Realtors donated to both Greg Lanting and Hawkins. The organization was both incumbents’ largest single contributor.
$2,300 — What Hawkins raised in campaign contributions.
$1,538.09 — What Hawkins spent, mostly through the Times-News, Standard Printing and Vistaprint.com.
$199.28 — What Leon Mills spent (all from his own and his spouse’s money).
$968.75 — What Eric Smallwood raised for his campaign. His largest donation was $500 from James Holesinsky.
$113.12 — What Smallwood spent on his campaign — but this doesn’t include the $503.50 in outstanding debt.
$890 — What Liyah Babayan raised in campaign contributions, mostly from 23 people who donated $50 or less.
$644.35 — What Babayan spent for her campaign at VistaPrint.com, Facebook and Copy-It.
Editor's note: This story was updated at noon Nov. 2 to include figures from Liyah Babayan's financial disclosure report.