Legislative Update – Shawn Keough
Greetings from the State Capitol! As spring approaches, the Legislature has just completed our ninth week of work and a couple of the highlights from last week included work in the area of higher education and workforce development.
I am proud to announce that after several years of planning, the University of Idaho and North Idaho College will now offer a baccalaureate program in computer science.
As Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, this funding was one of my top priorities. Our committee voted to fund a joint degree effort between the University of Idaho and NIC. In doing so, we allocated $950,000 to the project, which will provide for five staff members and equipment for the program to operate.
I am hopeful that this is the first step to creating a pipeline for employers in North Idaho and that it will be a big boost for the economy and educational offerings in the area. This will help several Sandpoint based companies and allow students to work towards their degree in Coeur d’Alene instead of having to leave the area all together.
We’re making additional progress in helping our workforce get trained and qualified to find better jobs.
Earlier this year, Governor Otter proposed a major expansion of technical education in industry areas such as software and web design, dental hygiene, aerospace technology and aircraft maintenance. These are important industries in our area and I supported this effort as it passed our committee.
The budget includes $3.79 million expansion at Idaho’s six technical colleges– including North Idaho College—directly helping those in our community who are looking to move upward in the workforce. This budget also increases funding for professional technical classes at the high school levels in our area.
As the session draws closer to a conclusion, there are still many other important decisions will be made that you need to weigh in on. I appreciate the messages I’m getting from home! It’s so important that elected officials like me hear directly from Idahoans. I look forward to your messages that share your perspectives about the issues that we face in our area and in Idaho. If you are on Facebook you can follow my page, Senator Shawn Keough. I use this page to post information about the legislative session and the issues at hand. You can also check out my website at shawnkeough.com or you can send me an email message at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, for information on the bills that are being considered this session, please go to: http://www.legislature.idaho.gov.
As you know, I’m honored to serve the citizens of Boundary and Bonner Counties in the Idaho State Senate. Thank you for all of your support!