Graduates Get Ready to Grow

“Follow your curiosity…Anchor yourself…Go out and find your story before you take flight.”

These are a few of the words of wisdom imparted by Timothy Egan, an honorary doctoral degree recipient at Boise State University’s 2016 commencement ceremony on May 7. He also encouraged, “May your days be prosperous and creative.”

Colleges and universities across the Boise Valley bestowed more than 5,000 degrees and certificates last month. Fortunately, those students have an extraordinary opportunity to prosper. A 2015 study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that higher levels of educational attainment directly correspond to lower levels of unemployment and higher median weekly earnings. Many employers are growing their businesses and need educated, skilled workers to meet their business goals. The individuals who have reached these achievements have undoubtedly put themselves in a great position to begin or continue their careers and this trend will continue in the Boise Valley. Over 40,000 local students are currently seeking degrees and 70 percent of the Boise Metro region’s population has some college experience (source: Applied Geographic Solutions). That is 12 percent higher than the national average.

In the Boise Valley, there is a robust education system consisting of multiple K-12 school districts, 13 thriving colleges and universities and a business environment that supports continuous learning. Educational initiatives in the Valley are fortunate enough to benefit from the generosity of organizations like the Albertsons, Micron and Simplot Foundations. These organizations have contributed sizeable donations to enhance the capabilities of our community college, the College of Western Idaho (CWI) and invest in further technical training, STEM education and campaigns to encourage high school students to further their education.

Boise Valley high schools are working to prepare students for college by offering concurrent credit courses in partnership with local higher education institutions and specialized training in technical skills. Dr. Don Coberly, Boise School District Superintendent reported, “All four of Boise’s comprehensive high schools –  Boise, Borah, Capital and Timberline – have been ranked among the top 9 percent in the country by The Washington Post for the past six years for providing rigor through Advanced Placement coursework.”

Our education institutions continue to expand their offerings with a focus on the skillsets employers require like computer expertise, design, strategic thinking and communication. At the same time, the Boise Valley is experiencing healthy job and economic growth. In April of this year, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ranked Idaho as number one in the nation for employment growth with an increase of 24,000 jobs from the previous year. Nearly 50 percent of those job were created within the Boise Valley (http://lmi.idaho.gov/ces). The cranes and construction vehicles dotting the cityscape prove that this growth is continuing and in turn demands more educated workers in this valley. As graduates embark on their next endeavors, the Boise Valley is equipped to be the place where individuals are met with an eagerness to grow big ideas and magnify the prosperity experienced in recent years.

So we congratulate our new graduates and wish them well with a few words from other commencement speakers around the Valley:

“We have high hopes and great dreams for each one of you graduates.” – Northwest Nazarene University President Joel K. Pearsall

“May your educational journey and your lives prove long and virtuous.” – CWI graduate Kyle Stephan Johnson

About the Graduates:

Boise State accounted for more than 4,000 of the graduates in 2016, including the first graduates in several new programs; Doctorate of Nursing Practice, Ph.D. in Biomolecular Science and Specialist in Educational Leadership. The College of Western Idaho saw students earn 1,293 degrees and certificates in fields like Business and Information Technology, Health and Human Services and Trades and Technology. The average GPA of those graduates and certificate recipients was a 3.2. The University of Idaho Boise campus awarded 84 degrees, the vast majority at the Masters and PhD level in fields including Law and Education.  Northwest Nazarene University awarded 209 Masters and Doctoral degrees, as well as 252 undergraduate students.