The Nampa Chamber of Commerce is supporting the bond for the College of Western Idaho, saying it will help business.
CWI wants voters to support a $180 million bond Nov. 8 to build an Ada County campus and to add to CWI’s Canyon County Campus in Nampa.
The college leases 11 buildings across the Treasure Valley for about $2 million a year to accommodate its 20,000 students. The bond would allow CWI to expand its Nampa campus by 32.5 acres and to build a 10-acre campus in Boise.
The board of directors of the Nampa Chamber of Commerce voted unanimously to endorse the bond because CWI provides an affordable path to workforce development, said Debbie Kling, president of the chamber.
CWI works closely with businesses in the Treasure Valley to train students for positions in manufacturing, healthcare and other industries. It will often provide customized training. For example, the engine parts manufacturer The Blower Shop worked with CWI before moving its headquarters from California to Boise this year.
“The agility that CWI has to meet the needs of a new company far exceeds a larger institution’s ability,” Kling said.
So far, 541 Idaho companies have hired students from CWI, said Audrey Eldridge, marketing manager at CWI. The college has a 91 percent placement rate for the graduates of its career and technical education courses and a 100 percent placement rate for its internship programs.
Job training is a priority because the Treasure Valley is expected to have 90,000 unfilled jobs by 2020, according to the Nampa Chamber of Commerce.
About $115 million of the bond would go to the Nampa campus and the rest would go to the Ada County campus. The extra room would allow CWI to expand classes in areas of high need such as computer science and healthcare, Kling said.
“There are two new hospitals being built in Nampa that will need nurses,” Kling said. “As we continue to grow the community, it is critical to have a community college that can focus on the areas of need.”