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Local business leaders meet to improve education

Local business leaders meet to improve education

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - Business leaders in eastern Idaho are working together to improve the quality of education in the gem state. They also want to prepare students for the future workforce.

The purpose of the meeting was to encourage business leaders to get involved in a workforce survey. The survey will look at what kind of jobs local businesses will need five years from now. The meeting also looked at data, which revealed the need for students in Idaho to get higher education.

There is a big gap between the current education level in Idaho and what businesses need in the future. Bank of Idaho's, CEO Park Price, said that was one of many things he learned from Tuesday's meeting.

"If our businesses are to grow and if we're going to attract businesses in Idaho to increase the number of job opportunities, we got to have an education system that is ready for the 21st century," Price said.
Census Data shows more than 30 percent of Idaho's 25-34-year-old's have a post-secondary degree. The State Board of Education also said more than 60 percent of jobs will require higher education by 2018. Price said that's too big of a gap.

"We know how quickly the workforce needs our being impacted by technology and global competition," he said.
Rod Gramer is the CEO of Idaho Business for Education. IBE, the group that held Tuesday morning's meeting.

"They are going to get a better job, they are going to get a better wage, they are going to be able to enjoy the quality of life in Idaho if they get more education," Gramer said. Eighty-five business leaders are a part of the group. They include leaders from the INL, Bank of Idaho and Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center. Each one is expected to take part in a survey that will ask two questions: "What are your needs of employees today and what will they be five years from now?" Price said.

Once the results from the survey are in, the group will share it with schools in eastern Idaho. The schools will then focus on what students need to learn to get a good job. The results will be presented in September.

IBE started in 2002. Their mission is to improve the quality of education from kindergarten through college.

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