North Idaho College has been awarded a $2.97 million grant intended to create an aerospace center to meet the workforce demands of the aerospace industry in North Idaho and help veterans and displaced workers in need of retraining.
The grant is expected to create 520 new jobs by 2015, according to grant application projections. It will have a $28.8 million annual impact to the local economy with average job salary estimates of $43,500, according to the Idaho Department of Labor.
Tim Komberec, CEO and president of Empire Airlines, said he considers the grant announcement a “watershed event.”
“This is something where we are going to look back in a few years and see the jobs and opportunities created by this grant and know that this was the catalyst for all of that,” Komberec said.
NIC is the only college in Idaho to receive grant funding from the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training initiative, which was designed to promote skills development and employment opportunities. The U.S. Department of Labor is implementing the $500 million program in coordination with the U.S. Department of Education.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for NIC to work with the emerging aerospace industry in North Idaho,” said NIC President Joe Dunlap. “This grant demonstrates NIC’s commitment to supporting the needs of business and industries as well as supporting economic initiatives in North Idaho.”
Plans for the grant funding include the creation of an aerospace center of excellence in North Idaho, which is intended to provide credit and non-credit training to individuals in aerospace related fields. The core curriculum will be in the areas of general aviation, airframe composites and non-destructive testing, as well expanding NIC’s current machining program. The proposal will target Trade Adjustment Assistance workers, displaced workers needing retraining, veterans and the general student population.
The three-year grant period begins on Oct. 1. NIC will begin planning immediately and anticipates offering courses by fall 2013. NIC is partnering with the Idaho Aerospace Alliance – a newly formed nonprofit based in Hayden, Lewis-Clark State College and the Idaho Department of Labor.
Learn more about the grant program at www.doleta.gov/taaccct