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Program # of Grants EDA Funds
Planning 8 $595,000
2 $143,750
Total 10 $738,750

In 2008, the Boise-Nampa metropolitan area suffered a severe economic downturn. In one six-month period from October 2008 to March 2009, the area lost over 18,000 jobs. When the state's largest employer, a manufacturer of semiconductor technologies, announced it would lay off 2,000 employees in February 2009, regional economic development leaders began vying to recruit new companies.

In order to recruit new companies that would create high-skill, high-wage job opportunities, local economic development leaders needed to ensure that residents had the vocational skills necessary to work with the latest technologies. To address these needs, the area needed a central training facility accessible to rural residents where they could learn how to use cutting-edge technologies and where their workers could upgrade their skills.

In 2009, EDA awarded the Canyon Owyhee School Service Agency $2.5 million to renovate a 56,000 sq. ft. building for use as a regional technology and education center. Completed in June 2011, the centrally located facility consolidated the various curricula that were offered at five different campuses. The center provides access to state-of-the-art technology in CAD drafting and design, use of 3-D prototyping equipment, as well as commercialization strategies and tactics. Students are provided workforce training in high-demand fields such as engineering, welding, auto/diesel technology, medical records, health professions, and building trades.

With the education career center now in full operation, more Boise-Nampa area students have opportunities to seek the latest vocational training. By 2015, six years after the EDA award, the project had helped create 298 jobs, retain 104 jobs, and resulted in about $800,000 of private investment.

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