FERDINAND, Idaho - Architectural millwork firm Pacific Cabinets, continuing a rapid rise in sales, has made good use of the 20,000 square foot addition it made to its Ferdinand, Idaho, plant last year, as well as an ample influx of new technology.
 
That original expansion, at which the firm consolidated production of items like countertops, hospital headwalls, and nursing stations, allowed a 30 percent increase in capacity in the main plant for architectural cabinets and case goods.
 
All that was necessitated by an influx of bookings, including new sales as far away as Hawaii and Alaska, and a possible multi-year, $14 million project for a single Seattle client, reports the Idaho County Free Press
 
The 37-year-old architectural millwork firm services architects and contractors building educational centers, restaurants, and laboratories, among other segments. Heavily investing in high-tech software and production equipment, Pacific Cabinets also took advantage of a state grant to train workers. "Superior craftsmen allows us to produce premium work at competitive prices with a fast turnaround," the company says.
 
The $63,000 Workforce Development Training Grant from the Idaho Department of Labor helped to train 11 new and retrain 11 current permanent, full-time workers at its Ferdinand manufacturing facility.  
New positions supported by the training include engineer technicians, CNC programmers, finish carpenters and fabricators. Idaho is experiencing low unemployment. Average hourly wages for the new positions was $15.64 plus medical benefits; existing project engineers, managers, supervisors saw increases following training – increased to an average of $22.18 per hour plus benefits.
 
Idaho also funded "train-the-trainer" programs for company staff to develop in-house structured on-the-job training for new and existing workers. Idaho’s Workforce Development Training Fund, established in 1996, is used to reimburse businesses for the cost of training new workers or retraining existing workers who would otherwise be laid off. Eligible businesses must produce a product or service sold outside their region, and the jobs must pay at least $12 an hour and include employer-assisted health insurance. The fund is financed by a 3 percent set-aside of the unemployment insurance taxes paid by businesses each year.