Within four years, 61 percent of Idaho jobs will require some kind of post-secondary education. Idaho Businesses for Education did a study, surveying almost 500 companies across the state about what they need in an employee. Their findings line up with a goal from the State Department of Education that 60 percent of 25-34 year-olds must have some sort of post-high school degree by 2020.
There will be very few jobs -about 22 percent- available for people with only a high school education.
"Anything that can be automated will be automated. Many of the jobs that people who have no more than a high school education are looking to do, those jobs are being automated away," said Park Price, East Idaho region chair for Idaho Businesses for Education and president of the Bank of Idaho.
Someone needs to make sure that technology is working, do things like analyze data, or, in Teton Toyota and Volkswagen's case, technology is a big part of shop work.
"Some of the people we can come in and develop on our program either through Toyota or Volkswagen but we are also looking for people who have a base fundamental knowledge or skill set that we can put to work right away. We need people in each level," said owner and general manager Mario Hernandez
Post-secondary education can include anything from a certificate on up. Price also says there is value in a liberal arts degree because students learn to think broadly.
"Also, the ability to write, because those of us in senior management, we see a lot of writing all the time. Having it concise so I can figure it out in a quick way is very, very important," said Price.
Price and the report stress the need for communication skills.
"What we want is for people to do is be out with the customers instead of back in the office filling out a bunch of forms. It doesn't do us any good. We need the information, technology helps with that, but its important to have our people out with the customers," said Price.
The employers surveyed said it's important that new hires have the ability to perform with integrity, contribute to a team, acquire knowledge and communicate effectively orally.
The study says the fields with the most demand include computer science, business, engineering, health sciences and communications.