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Building Careers through Continuing Education

Our population is expanding along with our businesses.

Published in the January 2023 Issue Published online: Jan 01, 2023 Trends in Education
Viewed 239 time(s)


By Dr. Amy Brumfield

Lots of people love living in Idaho. Our population is expanding along with our businesses. We now have a much wider range of career opportunities in some of the most profitable industries. Growth is everywhere.

Our legislators, employers and community leaders have invested in smart growth. When Bonneville County voters created College of Eastern Idaho (CEI) in 2017, it was a vote to keep Idaho’s way of life and our values of working hard, living well and giving back to the community. CEI has proven to be a great investment.

Our community needs a local college so that our residents learn here, earn here, and build their lives here. It’s working. 97% of CEI students are Idahoans, and most go to college part-time to improve their career opportunities. Throughout the 2021- 2022 academic year, CEI provided 21,248 students with educational opportunities.

Leticia Miranda is one of the 21,248. She has lived in Idaho for 26 years. She raised three kids here, and now she is watching them raise her three grandkids. Leticia loves her life here, but she dreams of working in healthcare. When she turned 50, she decided to make that dream a reality

Leticia came to CEI without a GED, but with big aspirations. She found Sandie Takahashi, CEI’s College and Career Readiness Director, who helped her pass three of the four GED sections. Now Leticia is ready to crush the last one. She could finish the GED in her native language, Spanish, but she loves the challenge of passing the test in English. 

Sandie’s team helped Leticia get skills and confidence, but it is really her hard work that makes it all possible. Leticia will be ready to start her medical training soon, and she will make our community a little healthier. She will make her family proud, too. 

Students like Leticia need local educational options. Like the rest of our students, she can’t afford to invest her time and effort unless it gets her a better job. And hard work isn’t enough to get one.

Most Idaho jobs now require specialized training. An auto mechanic can’t just be good with machines; they need electrical engineering to fix advanced vehicles. Modern agriculture needs workers with electrical, welding and advanced mechanical skills. Medicine is increasingly sophisticated. Healthcare providers need good clinical skills, but they need computer skills, too.

In every industry, employers need problem-solvers who can communicate with a broad audience. Even from Idaho, a company’s customer base is global.

 Said differently, Idahoans don’t just need to work hard, they need to work smart. If we don’t prepare Idahoans for our region’s best jobs, then they will be filled by others. Our cost of living will increase while making it harder to hold onto our values when Idahoans get pushed out. No one wants that. 

Instead, CEI works with regional employers like Idaho National Laboratory and Mountain View Hospital. They get CEI students into jobs now and pay them to train for promotions.

Because CEI’s employer partnerships are so successful, our programs are thriving. Employers ensure that our talented instructors stay current. They constantly consult practitioners working in the field who share expertise and the best equipment. These partnerships grow our local students into polished professionals. 

 A CEI education turns jobs into careers. That success feeds more. Our students often come back for more training so they can push that career straight up the promotion ladder.

Our region continues to invest in CEI. Generous donors have pledged $34.4 million for Future Tech, with just $8 million left to raise. This state-of-the-art building is designed for our region’s current and future careers.

Because our employers shape this campus, CEI knows what’s coming. New programs will come online right when graduates are needed. Everyone is invested in getting our students prepared so that Idahoans are always ready to fill our region’s best jobs.  

Investing in our students is the best way to keep the Idaho way of life. Our residents are Idaho’s best natural resource. More of them are investing in their future at CEI every year. In Fall of 2022, CEI grew by 8% dit-seeking students alone.

CEI is built to maximize their potential— and yours. CEI is a place to fulfill dreams, build careers and nurture our local community. In other words, it is the best way to guarantee that we all love living here for generations to come. 

Dr. Amy Brumfield is the Interim Director of Institutional Effectiveness at College of Eastern Idaho.

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