Forging Futures Idaho is a workforce-pipeline initiative that focuses on creating and promoting manufacturing career opportunities for Idahoans through purposeful education and connections with industry partners, resources, and community support. Although we officially formed in 2021, we have understood the need to close the skills gap through highlighting good-paying, rewarding, and promising careers to help our population and our state move forward. Our team comes with years of experience working in the manufacturing, education, and workforce development sectors and we are continually striving to meet the diverse needs of those we serve.
Forging Futures is an educational 501(c)3 public charity created by the Idaho Manufacturing Alliance. The Idaho Manufacturing Alliance is a member-based association for manufacturers in the state that offers benefits and networking opportunities to manufacturing businesses.
Noé Zepeda – Coordinator
Originally from Prospect Heights, IL, Noé moved to Idaho in 2015 for a position on a statewide educational initiative building talent pipelines and improving post-secondary readiness among high school students. Since his arrival in Idaho, he has worked in both private and public sectors to advance the opportunities for students, veterans, and other Idahoans to be informed and intentional about their paths towards career and personal prosperity. He is strengthening communities and facilitating opportunities or creating tools for others to find their sense of direction.
Noé has a healthy knowledge of 90s’ trivia and his sense of humor draws from Naked Gun, In Living Color, and the first ten seasons of The Simpsons. He enjoys being an active member in his community and when he’s not at the hardware store, he’s in his backyard with his dogs or watching YouTube podcasts and documentaries on ancient empires.
Frequently Asked Questions
A pipeline is a structured & sustainable relationship between incoming workforce and industry. It really means taking a proactive approach towards readying available and future workforce for a successful transition into employment. The workforce can come from a demographic like students, veterans, refugees, immigrants, nontraditional jobseekers, or traditional jobseekers. Forging Futures Idaho works with all demographics within the state.
In the simplest terms, manufacturing is the creation of products or goods from raw materials and parts by using human labor, machinery, tools, and chemical or biological processes. Goods may be sold to other manufacturers for further production or sold to consumers directly or through wholesalers or retailers. Manufacturing is understood to have begun in the late 18th century and 19th century, with the first Industrial Revolution’s transition from hand production methods to use of new energy sources like coal, steam power, and electricity in machinery. Since then, there have been several advances in the raw materials used, techniques, work environments, and use of fuel and energy. We are currently going through the 4th Industrial Revolution with increased automation and use of modern smart technology in machine-to-machine communication and internet of things.
Yes! In Idaho, we have over 2,000 manufacturers that range from less than 20 employees to more than 5,000. Overall, manufacturing employs about 6% of our state’s total workforce and contributes to about 12% of the total GDP.
Idaho’s manufacturing isn’t just focused on food production either, we have a strong presence in aerospace, lumber, chemicals, fabricated metals, electronics, and other types of manufacturing.
You might’ve heard the saying, “manufacturing is the backbone of American economy.” It’s probably because manufacturing is crucial to helping other industries run like retail, transportation, healthcare, and education as well as impacting the day-to-day operations of society. In the United States, manufacturing is continually expanding and evolving and economists are projecting an opening of over 4 million jobs in the industry between 2020 and 2028. In Idaho, there are currently over 70,000 jobs in manufacturing, and 26% of those jobs were added in the last 10 years–there is a bright future for manufacturing in our state.
Forging Futures Idaho can host presentations, coordinate site tours with manufacturers, provide inventory assessments, facilitate job shadows or internships, and sponsor apprenticeships in manufacturing. We try to answer all requests while ensuring value is received by all parties involved. If you are an employer, student, parent, veteran, educator, or job-seeker, feel free to connect with us to see how we could work together.
An apprenticeship is workforce-driven program that combines on-the-job training with job-related instruction for people who want to enter a career field. Apprenticeships allow individuals to start working and earning pay with an employer while receiving the training to move upwards in the position to the point of becoming self-sufficient upon completion of the program.
Apprentices are structured where an individual’s progress and completion of an apprenticeship is time-based, competency (skills)-based, or a combination of both. After completion of an apprenticeship, individuals will receive an increase in pay and earn a recognized certificate or credential for that job.
Individuals must be at least 16 years old. Each apprenticeship program is different and based on the career as well as the employer, but most apprenticeships are designed for high school graduates or job seekers with a GED who are at least 18 years old. There are school-to-registered apprenticeship (STRAP) programs for high school students to begin on-the-job-training while also earning credits for high school graduation requirements. To inquire about potential apprenticeships that match your profile and interest, reach out to us through the contact form on this site or email email@example.com.
Currently, we have 8 sponsored registered apprenticeships in manufacturing. Interested applicants must be at least 16 years old and able to perform the basic functions of the position. We will update this list as we create new apprenticeship opportunities.
- Industrial Maintenance Mechanic
- CNC Operator
- Machine Operator
- Robotics Technician
- Engineering Technician
- Mechatronics Technician
You can submit an inquiry to learn more about apprenticeships and an Idaho Manufacturing Alliance/Forging Futures rep will contact you to gauge your interest in available apprenticeships. If after talking about options, you are wanting to wait a period before pursuing an apprenticeship, we can follow up with you in the future. In the meantime, we can provide an aptitude test to give you a sense of direction in career interests, offer employer site visits, or encourage a job shadow.