FOR RELEASE 10/13/2016
Nampa Chamber of Commerce Votes Unanimously to Support the CWI Bond Election
The Nampa Chamber of Commerce supports and encourages a yes vote for the CWI Bond election on November 8.
The Nampa Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, with the support of the Education Council and Government Relations committee, voted unanimously to support CWI’s $180 million bond request ($1.86 per month per $100,000 taxable property value).
The College of Western Idaho's general obligation bond request is substantial and ambitious. Yet the need is apparent and the benefits to our local economy are clear. The timing is right to take advantage of low-interest rates to support these much-needed facility improvements and expansion. The growth of CWI, to 20,000 students, is well-documented, but it is the demand driving that growth which is the main focus of the Nampa Chamber.
Our business community is facing a significant workforce gap of trained and educated workers. By 2020 the workforce shortage in the Treasure Valley is expected to be 90,000 workers. That shortage means good-paying jobs go unfilled. That shortage means that our businesses face obstacles in getting the trained employees they need for growth and success. Currently, our local hospitals are facing a shortage in healthcare providers. This workforce gap reduces economic mobility in our community and limits business growth. Shortages of trained workers in our area have also caused businesses to bypass the Treasure Valley and look elsewhere to move or expand their operations.
The College of Western Idaho is a key component in addressing this gap in Nampa and the Treasure Valley. CWI's professional technical education programs have been a great benefit to local job growth and business expansion. The ability for local industries to work closely with CWI on professional training and education programs has met important employment needs. The Chamber is in agreement with CWI Board Chair Mary Niland's statement: "As we look to the future of the [Treasure] Valley, we understand the need for affordable, innovative, industry-driven higher education is going to continue to grow." Nampa's business community supports the continuing role of CWI in growing and developing in partnership with industry to meet that need.
The Nampa Chamber is also in favor of the bond as it continues significant investment into CWI right here in our community. Approximately $115 million of the $180 million investment goes into the main CWI campus right here in Nampa. The CWI Board has made clear in its strategic planning that its focus is on maintaining and improving the central campus location in Nampa. That planning also transitions CWI out of current leased space arrangements which are less student-friendly, less efficient, and that take commercial properties off the tax rolls. Centralizing CWI's programs in its main Nampa campus and in one Boise satellite campus is good for all involved. This bond serves as the catalyst to make that vision a reality.
The Nampa Chamber strives to be conservative on tax issues, particularly those that closely impact our business members. CWI's record of success and vision in meeting significant business and industry needs convinces us that this additional tax support is the right type of investment to make in Nampa.
The Nampa Chamber joins with the Idaho Press Tribune, Idaho Statesman, and many others in endorsing and encouraging a yes vote. We look forward to the continued success of CWI and its work for our business community.
Nampa Chamber of Commerce
208-466-4626 Direct Line
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