From the Editor

David Staats: Idaho's workforce conundrum

dstaats@idahostatesman.comApril 16, 2014 

Staats, David

David Staats

SHAWN RAECKE — Shawn Raecke/ Idaho Statesman Buy Photo

I learned two lessons compiling the results of our first quarterly survey of local business executives.

The first comes through clearly, I hope, in the story and charts on pages 10 and 11. It's that most of the 12 executives think 2014 will be good for their organizations, with strong revenue growth and more hiring. Conditioned, perhaps, by years of slow growth, I expected less.

The second is that workforce development remains a high priority for business. For high-paying tech companies in particular, it's more important than taxes or regulation.

The Treasure Valley has become a place where call-center companies know they can find $9- and $10-an-hour workers for their phone banks. Meanwhile, CEOs of local software firms are shouting from their virtual rooftops for help, holding fistfuls of thousand-dollar bills to shower on any computer-science graduates they can find.

Idaho workers' sinking status compared with the nation is reinforced by the latest wage data. See for yourself on page 31.

Given this backdrop, the business survey's results are encouraging. The story and quotes capture only a fraction of the comments executives offered. Find their complete, unedited remarks in a PDF through a link from the survey story.

The Stoel Rives law firm provided financial support for the survey. The survey was produced independently by the Statesman newsroom.

dstaats@idahostatesman.com, Twitter: @IDS_DavidStaats

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