These Booming Career Paths Need the Treasure Valley’s Support
It's pretty easy to see why demand for medical professionals will grow in Boise and Idaho in the coming decades.
Not only is Boise the fastest-growing city in the nation by Forbes' metrics, that growth is driven by an influx of older residents. Population projections show 35 percent of Idaho residents will be senior citizens by 2025, with seniors responsible for almost 60 percent of the state's population growth between 2015 and 2025, according to CWI Yes, a non-profit organization.
That population will need all levels of health-care workers from certified nursing assistants up to specialized physicians. Unfortunately, we're already lagging behind: The number graduates in health-care fields in the Treasure Valley remained flat from 2010 to 2016 while that industry saw a net increase of 10,000 jobs.
It's a problem leaders at several levels are working to address, from grants to support students completing certified nursing assistants training to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center's new residency program for physicians.
But there's an initiative on the Nov. 6 ballot in Ada and Canyon counties that could have a long-term impact on the problem. (It's on the third page of the ballot, so don't miss it when you go to vote!) Presently, the College of Western Idaho graduates about 100 health care workers a year, but with its proposed $49 million health science building, that figure could climb to 250 a year, according to the Idaho Statesman.
College leaders are seeking a 10-year, $39 million property tax levy to build the 105,000-square-foot education center after state officials earmarked $10 million for it. If the levy passes with 55 percent of the vote, the design phase would start immediately so students could start using it in fall 2022, according to the Idaho Statesman.
Some taxpayers might not even notice the difference on their bills. If approved, it would cost $8.42 per $100,000 of assessed value. So, the owners of a $250,000 home would see a $21.05 increase to their property tax bills.
Students will notice the difference, though. Health care professions offer solid wages and opportunities for advancement, especially with additional education. The CWI health science building would house classes for future physical therapy assistants, pharmacy technicians, dental assistants, surgical technicians and more.
"Nursing is one of the top-rated medical careers in this country," said Amanda Draper, a nurse practitioner at the St. Alphonsus Medical Group who supports the levy. "I have been in the nursing filed for 22 splendid years and cannot imaging a more fulfilling career. There is tremendous job satisfaction no matter where this amazing career takes you. I am convinced that you could not find this human experience anywhere else."
Don't Miss Your Opportunity to Vote!
With the election just days away, leaders want to ensure that as many eligible voters as possible cast ballots. Be sure to make sure your voter registration is up-to-date and you know when and where to vote. And look for the levy question on page 3 of your ballot!