- Associated Press - Friday, October 10, 2014

NAMPA, Idaho (AP) - A southwest Idaho city plans to work with a school district, local colleges and the Idaho Department of Labor to meet the demand for skilled workers needed by growing businesses.

Nampa Economic Development Director Beth Ineck, speaking Thursday at the Nampa Chamber’s Business and Breakfast event, said she met with 45 Nampa businesses over the last year.

The Idaho Press-Tribune (https://bit.ly/1vRcg5a) reports that Ineck told participants that about 70 percent of those businesses are growing and more than half added new employee. But she said 42 percent struggle to find skilled workers.

“This will be a strong focus that you will see our office working on over the next year,” she said.

Ineck said seven companies want to expand in Nampa, investing $26 million and creating 470 new jobs.

The Economic Development Office, Ineck said, also hosted 24 site visits for 14 companies. It has also created two marketing videos for Nampa using money provided by Idaho Power.

Some companies have built or opened new locations in the city, and Panera Bread plans to open its first Idaho location in Nampa.

Another company, Materne North America, which makes GoGo squeeZ fruit pouches, is planning to begin test runs at its facility later this month. That company created 200 jobs and is investing $85 million.

Ineck said the company received incentives to come to Nampa, and the city has set aside $120,000 for incentives to attract additional companies. The city can also tap tax reimbursement incentives approved by state lawmakers to help pull in businesses.

“That is a huge deal for bringing new companies into Idaho and into Nampa,” Ineck said.

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Information from: Idaho Press-Tribune, https://www.idahopress.com

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