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Idaho Business for Education, HP announce new statewide education and employability study

January 9, 2019

BOISE — Over the next several months, Idaho Business for Education and Hewlett-Packard will complete a comprehensive study — the first of its kind in the U.S. — to determine the status of Idaho’s education in an effort to inform lawmakers and education leaders.

The Idaho Education and Employability study, set to wind up in June, is intended to assist the work of Gov. Brad Little’s newly announced education task force and strengthen Idaho’s education and economic competitiveness, according to Rod Gramer, President and CEO of Idaho Business for Education.

“It’s a very exciting opportunity for Idaho to have a study like this done,” Gramer said.

The study will be conducted through surveys, focus groups and one-on-one interviews, to get first-hand accounts of Idaho’s education system. A team of people from HP will complete the study with the help of key education stakeholder groups, like the Idaho State Board of Education, according to Gramer.

“We’ll try and create a road map to ensure that Idaho is able to navigate the fourth industrial revolution and continue its really great economic growth in its recent past and into the future,” said Gus Schmedlen, vice president of worldwide education for HP.

Although there is no set number for how many people the study will survey, Schmedlen said HP will take the square root of any given population and multiply it by four to account for population diversity. In terms of the number of interviews and site visits, he said the team will visit at least 10 Idaho schools and business leaders, as well as analyze already-created literature.

“(Idaho’s) economic, social future is very important to HP as a company as we continue our investment in Idaho,” Schmedlen said. “It’s certainly an investment that’s paid off for HP and one that we hope continues.”

In the past, studies like this have helped offer recommendations to legislators to strengthen teacher education and ongoing professional development and to update curricula to match the jobs of the future, among other things, Schmedlen said.

Similar studies have been conducted in Hungary, Ecuador, Peru and Indonesia, though this is the first time that the same methodology will be applied to a U.S. state, according to Schmedlen.

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