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Roundtable Discussions

Darrell Bolz reported:

Economic development in Canyon County is continuing.  Caldwell has seen some new businesses.  A new neighborhood Wal-Mart has opened.  A Starbucks is currently being built.  Both Nampa and Caldwell are seeing new hotels currently being built.  Caldwell did get a Business Improvement District which will help fund the downtown Indian Creek Plaza.  There are at least two (2) different small strip malls being built as well.

As I have mentioned previously, a major area of concern is the transportation infrastructure.  The I-84 corridor between Caldwell and Nampa continues to have increased traffic.  The daily traffic slowdown at the I-84 and Franklin interchange in Nampa is only getting worse.  COMPASS is applying for federal dollars to widen I-84 between the Franklin Interchange and the Karcher interchange.  This is not the first time that a grant from federal funds have been applied for – TIGER grant funds were applied for previously, but were not received.  The competition is extremely tight with much more in requests than is available. There are matching funds tied to the grant application from the City of Nampa and potentially Canyon County.

Stephanie Cook, Idaho Nation Laboratory, reported:

National Award of Excellence Presented to Four Organizations Advancing Regional Prosperity and Innovation

COLUMBUS, OH--(Marketwired - November 02, 2016) - Celebrating the 10th anniversary of its Excellence in Technology Based Economic Development awards, SSTI today announced four winners driving prosperity in their states and regions through innovative approaches to growing their economies and creating high-paying jobs.

"As we reach this 10-year milestone of recognizing excellence in initiatives that are happening throughout the U.S., it is a good measure of the dedication and entrepreneurial spirit that exists in a dynamic economy," said Dan Berglund, president and CEO of SSTI. "This year's award winners are examples of strong initiatives that have been recognized by their peers as successful programs. They, in conjunction with past winners, serve as models for those working to encourage prosperity through science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship."

Awards were presented today during a ceremony at SSTI's Annual Conference in Columbus, OH, attended by more than 250 local, regional and national leaders in economic development from 43 states and three countries. The following initiatives were named 2016 recipients of SSTI's Excellence in TBED award:

The Most Promising TBED Initiative: Digital Health Accelerator: University City Science Center, Philadelphia, PA

The University City Science Center, founded in 1963 as the nation's first urban research park, provides business incubation, programming, lab and office facilities, and support services for entrepreneurs, startups, and growing and established companies. The Science Center's Digital Health Accelerator (DHA) supports digital health companies ready to transition from research and development to sales. The program selects promising companies from around the world and provides them with funding, collaborative workspace, professional mentorship, and introductions to key healthcare stakeholders and investors in the Greater Philadelphia region. Since the program launched in 2015, 13 DHA companies have created close to 100 new jobs, generated $14 million in revenue and raised over $16 million in investments. Of the 13 companies that have participated in the DHA, five are minority-owned and four are female-owned.

Creating Prosperity Through Entrepreneurship & Capital: Georgia Research Alliance - GRA Venture Fund, LLC

The Georgia Research Alliance created the GRA Venture Fund, LLC (GRAVF) in 2009 to provide critical seed-stage capital to companies emerging from the GRA Ventures Program. The GRAVF provides local investor oversight to assure out-of-state co-investors that companies can grow and prosper in Georgia. Since its inception, the GRAVF has raised over $45 million, and has invested $17.5 million in 11 companies. GRAVF's investments have leveraged an additional $441 million from 10 in-state and 31 out-of-state co-investors and strategic partners. In all, GRAVF's portfolio companies have annual revenues of $21 million and have created 526 high-value jobs.

Enhancing Prosperity Through Competitive Industries: Knowledge Based Economic Development, LLC - Knowledge Based Economic Development

Knowledge Based Economic Development (KBED) is a unique partnership of civic, academic and private sector entities working together to support new and growing companies in Manhattan, Kansas. This integrated community economic development program seeks to attract companies to the community by leveraging the talent, innovation and training capabilities, and infrastructure available at Kansas State University. The KBED partnership is in its ninth year of operation. With over $32 million in economic impact to date and over 750 jobs created or secured, KBED is an asset for the Manhattan community.

Increasing Prosperity Through Economic Opportunity: Idaho National Laboratory - Idaho Rural Partnership

Created in 2000, the Community Review program is the heart of the Idaho Rural Partnership (IRP). The program equips rural communities to build momentum by working with IRP economic development experts to identify assets and opportunities, prioritize economic and community development strategies, and attract available funding and resources. The program has completed 37 reviews in communities with populations ranging from 300 to 10,000 and, as a result, those communities have seen new business creation and subsequent job growth, opportunities for work-related education, attraction of grants or low-interest loans for infrastructure and other projects, and establishment of new planning initiatives or partnerships.

"This year's award winners have achieved significant impacts through their respective programs," Berglund said. "They showcase the positive impacts that can result when multiple parties can collaborate and build upon the assets of their existing strengths and resources. SSTI is happy to recognize their achievements."

About SSTI
SSTI is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to improving initiatives that support prosperity through science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. www.ssti.org


  • Contact: 
    Ellen Marrison
    Content Strategist
    Phone: 614.901.1690

INL/Fluor Idaho News Release

Dec. 8, 2016 


INL: Misty Benjamin, 208-351-9900, misty.benjamin@inl.gov  

Fluor Idaho: Ann Riedesel, 208-533-0541, ann.riedesel@icp.doe.gov

Site contractors contribute over $615,000 to United Way and nonprofit organizations in eastern Idaho


IDAHO FALLS — Employees of the U.S. Department of Energy’s two largest contractors in Idaho provided more than $615,000 in contributions to three regional United Way offices for the coming year. United Way organizations and nonprofit agencies throughout eastern Idaho will receive the donations. 

Battelle Energy Alliance, which manages and operates Idaho National Laboratory, and many of its nearly 4,100 employees have pledged $393,034 to United Way offices and agencies. Employees contributed an additional $13,000 to other area nonprofits as part of a new write-in option in the campaign. This year's total includes a BEA $55,000 donation, which will be shared among United Way offices in Idaho Falls, Pocatello and Twin Falls based on the percentage of INL employees residing in each United Way region.

“This year, we brought in directors from many of the agencies, along with recipients of the services, to share with our management teams and employees the impact their donations make in the lives of those in our community,” said Ron Crone, INL associate laboratory director and United Way campaign champion. “We are very passionate about United Way and the important services they provide to communities. It was a very successful campaign. Our employees are very generous; they stepped up and helped us not only meet our goal of $376,000, but beat it by nearly $30,000.”

In its first United Way campaign, Fluor Idaho, which manages the environmental cleanup work at DOE’s Idaho site, and its employees contributed more than $209,000.

“Like our employees, Fluor is committed to supporting United Way, and it’s more than just words,” said Fred Hughes, Fluor Idaho Program Manager. “Fluor matched our employee contributions by 50 cents on the dollar that added nearly $50,000 more for our campaign. Fluor Idaho appreciates the warm welcome we have received and looks forward to demonstrating what it means to be a good corporate citizen involved in improving the quality of life in our communities.”

See more INL news at www.inl.gov. Follow @INL on Twitter or visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/IdahoNationalLaboratory.


Tabrie Landon, 208-360-6004, tabrie.landon@inl.gov
Laura Scheele, 219-381-8672, laura.scheele@inl.gov


Applications are being accepted for three grant programs in support of excellence and innovation in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education at Idaho National Laboratory. INL will accept proposals for the State-wide STEM Mini Grants, Southeast Idaho Extreme Classroom Makeover Grants and the East Idaho Ultimate STEM Grants from Nov. 21 through Jan. 6, 2017.

Funding for the grants comes from Battelle Energy Alliance, which operates INL for the U.S. Department of Energy. This year, INL is offering three types of STEM education grants:

  1. The INL Statewide STEM Mini Grants will provide funds to enhance public and private elementary, middle school and high school programs. Idaho teachers can apply for up to $500 to fund technology or lab equipment, material for special projects or professional development.
  2. The INL Southeast Idaho Classroom Makeover STEM Grant will provide funding to an Idaho educator or school to transform classrooms into 21st-century STEM learning environments. The $5,000 grant award is available to support classroom instructional resources, materials and laboratory equipment used to integrate STEM concepts across multiple disciplines.
  3. The East Idaho Ultimate STEM Grants will provide up to $10,000 to educators, schools, and STEM stakeholders to enhance or implement new STEM programs, fund new equipment or create opportunities for STEM professional development.

Grant applications are available at https://www.inl.gov/inl-initiatives/education/k-12-stem-grants/. Completed applications, proof of 501(c)(3) status and a W-9 form must be submitted by close of business on Jan. 6, 2017.

A panel of judges will evaluate the applications based on specific criteria. Educators and STEM stakeholders are required to provide information on how project goals, learning objectives and curriculum concepts will be enhanced, and how the project or program will improve student interest in STEM careers and student achievement in STEM disciplines. Grant recipients will be announced by March 2017.

Over the past decade, INL has contributed nearly $4.6 million to advance STEM education in Idaho.

INL is one of the U.S. Department of Energy’s national laboratories. The laboratory performs work in each of DOE’s strategic goal areas: energy, national security, science and environment. INL is the nation’s leading center for nuclear energy research and development. Day-to-day management and operation of the laboratory is the responsibility of Battelle Energy Alliance.

See more INL news at www.inl.gov. Follow @INL on Twitter or visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/IdahoNationalLaboratory.

Andrew Mentzer, Valley County Economic Development Council, reported:

Idaho’s West Central Mountains are at a critical strategic intersection. With the Great Recession over but residual economic instability remaining throughout many sectors and communities in the United States, it is important for Valley County and the Meadows Valley to be thinking about long term strategies for economic solvency. Historically there are roughly two recessions every decade in the United States, so we are likely due for another correction sometime soon. This reality of our world is not something to fear--but rather an opportunity to evaluate whether we are in a good place and able to weather the storm, be it large or small.

Some interesting data:

  • 6% unemployment in Valley County (3.8% statewide)
  • These are folks who have housing
  • 270 unfilled positions listed at the Dept. of Labor
  • What this means: skills gap + seasonal labor disincentives

While imperative to our local economy, there are other opportunities for the West Central Mountains than tourism, second home ownership and growth sensitive/reliant natural resource industries. Dynamic industries have sprung up in recent years that have demonstrated the value of providing resources for entrepreneurship and innovation on Main Street. We hope to help with this effort by giving businesses the resources needed to prosper and position themselves for success. This, in part, is how we win the housing battle, this is how we keep young families engaged and this is how we avoid becoming overly reliant on the Treasure Valley. With this as our central thesis, here is what we have been working on and where we think it can go.

Education: Free online learning opportunities abound that could bolster innovation and help businesses find new ways to grow through technology and efficient new systems. Imagine if every business owner in the region took a 5 class sequence in finance or cyber security from Stanford University… for free. What if every high school junior did? How might this better inform what they do on a day to day basis? Would this bring about the next great idea or company out of Valley County? This exact opportunity is available through Coursera--an online education platform that plugs students into classes remotely and allows them to take single or sequenced classes from the top universities in the world. In the interest of vetting this platform further, I am personally taking a Java programming course from Duke University to demonstrate Coursera’s value. Additional online learning opportunities are available through the Library’s Lili platform that allow patrons to learn Microsoft Office or QuickBooks. For those looking to segue into a college environment, Ed2Go through the College of Southern Idaho is a great resource to learn critical front end skills in business, healthcare and other sectors. ALL of these platforms can be proctored at local libraries or from home. Discussions are underway to build some infrastructure to make this pipeline a reality (see “Grants” below).

Business Growth Resources: Not all businesses run the same or face the same set of challenges. With this in mind, we have been working closely with the SBA and state resources to provide high quality customized business trainings that will be beneficial to the businesses in the region. In the last few months we have brought a “Doing Business with the Government” seminar and a Hospitality Soft Skills Training to the region that focused on the business needs unique to the West Central Mountains. We look forward to offering many more trainings to companies who share a need for a specific training.

Grants: We have completed two applications for funds that we hope will be successful. The first is the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Culture of Health Award, which Valley County is a semifinalist for. We coauthored this application with St. Lukes McCall, and believe we have a strong chance of winning. This $25,000 award is given to communities that demonstrate a commitment to health and wellbeing in the broadest possible terms. Valley County is a prime candidate for this award due to the fact that we are the healthiest county in Idaho and have the second longest lifespan of any county in America. We hope you will offer your support as we progress in the award pipeline. The second grant we have applied for is a $10,000 Umpqua Bank Community Giving award that we intend to build out and market the online education platform with. This award was just submitted in December and we hope to have good news to report shortly.

Pathways: Working closely with Valley County, municipalities and the Valley County Pathways group, we have been consolidating all pathways efforts into a single unifying document that will help anyone looking to navigate the pathways landscape, whether from a policy standpoint or a recreational one. This effort serves as an update to the Pathways Master Plan that was adopted by the County in 2005. We have included existing routes, potential new routes, Nordic Trails, the “Big Loop,” water trails, and railroad beds. The hope is that this document may be able to evolve into a reference manual for the area that will improve user engagement and fortify the regional commitment to connecting our communities.

Apprenticeships: The Idaho Department of Labor recently rolled out a robust new apprenticeship program that will offer subsidized training for skilled professionals to take the next step in their careers. VCEDC will be utilizing this tool in discussions with local businesses needing to train their workforce.

Junior Achievement: Discussions are underway with local schools to try to implement a robust Junior Achievement program across Valley County and the Meadows Valley. Junior Achievement is a national nonprofit who offers curriculum for financial literacy for all ages. This effort will be volunteer driven and is taught by leaders from the business community. I have taught the America Works curriculum for the last three years to 6th graders and believe this would be a great addition to an already stellar education system.

Marketing/PR: We are working closely with the McCall and Cascade Chambers to fortify the brand of the West Central Mountains--Idaho’s Adventure Corridor. This regional approach will enhance the existing branding efforts of the localities, and create opportunities for regional collaboration on numerous topics, including policy, pathways and transportation. We have also been working with regional public relations professionals to push/pitch stories of interest that celebrate the area’s economy. Specifically, we have collaborated with Visit Idaho for the upcoming solar eclipse and have worked with a PR professional who has made contact with the Wall Street Journal to do a follow up story on McCall real estate.