ITD awarded one of eight FHWA job-training grants

Citing a need for more skilled highway construction workers, the Idaho Transportation Department was one of eight state departments of transportation to share in job-training grants totaling $3 million from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

The “Ladders of Opportunity Initiative On-The-Job Training/Supportive Service (OJT/SS)” grants are part of an ongoing federal effort to improve the apprenticeships and training opportunities for underrepresented or disadvantaged people seeking careers in transportation, engineering or construction.

Idaho will receive more than $198,000 to provide five weeks of training for new heavy-equipment operators and other skilled personnel.

“The Office of Civil Rights realized that we could create economic opportunity, while helping contractors identify skilled workers to build and maintain our transportation infrastructure,” said Civil Rights Compliance Officer Russ Rivera.

“This effort falls directly in line with ITD’s mission. And with this being a competitive grant process, it shows the rest of the country that ITD truly is one of the nation’s best at developing On-the-Job Training programs,” he explained.

According to USDOT estimates, more than one-half of the current highway construction workforce is over the age of 45 and, with retirement separation and growth, more than a half-million highway construction jobs are projected over the next decade.

“Providing individuals with the job-training opportunities they need is critical to keeping our highway system up and running,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in announcing the awards. “Training programs like these create opportunities for workers in the short term, and ensure that the next generation is ready for the challenges that will face America’s transportation system in the years ahead.”

The grants focus specifically on supporting innovative, nationally and regionally significant highway construction workforce development programs that target specific workforce needs across the country and build ladders of opportunity to the middle class for American workers.

Other states awarded job-training grants are California, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Published 06-24-16