The College of Eastern Idaho (CEI) cut the ribbon on its new Eastern Idaho Workforce Training Center on Sept. 21, though the ceremony wasn’t the occasion to open a new building. The ribbon cutting honored the transfer of an existing property from Bonneville County to the college.
The building and acreage are the former Bonneville County Technology Center (BCTC), located walking distance to the Idaho Falls portions of the Idaho National Laboratory. The county transferred the property in May. CEI will use the 32,000-square-foot building along with 8.47 acres to provide training in trades such as construction, electrical, HVAC, heavy equipment operation, plumbing, welding and other work-related skills. The building contains eight flexible-use high-bays along with six classrooms or laboratories that have optional configurations for hands-on training.
The Eastern Idaho Workforce Training Center transfer process involved the Bonneville County Commissioners, Regional Development Alliance (RDA), City of Idaho Falls and the acceptance of the property by the CEI Board of Trustees. Along with the transfer of the facility and acreage, the RDA also transferred over $700,000 of associated funding to update and repair the building.
The BCTC was originally founded using an Economic Development Act (EDA) grant awarded in 1994. The grant was for workforce retraining programs. The EDA funds were spent to acquire land, install public improvements, construct a facility and administer a training program. The building was the vision of former Bonneville County Commissioner Cliff Long, who wanted a facility dedicated to training displaced workers. Bonneville County and the City of Idaho Falls provided seed money and in-kind donations to win the $4.5 million federal EDA grant. Dr. Charles Boge donated the land. At its May 26 meeting, the City Council stated that the parties agree that CEI will continue the grant program effectively and consistently with the original grant purposes.v