In the community

TVCC nets big donation to boost career-tech program

A $100,000 donation will help Treasure Valley Community College buy equipment for a new Career and Technical Education Center. (Photo courtesy of the TVCC Foundation)

Ontario – A Boise family understands how learning and training environments shape the student experience. 

Henry Bettis and his wife, Laura, who oversee the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation, are betting on the future of technical students at Treasure Valley Community College with a $100,000 gift for the college’s new Career and Technical Education Center.

“While the building is critical, we knew we would also need new equipment to fulfill our goal of advancing opportunities for students in CTE,” President Dana Young said in a press release. She added that the support will not only pay for equipment but help the college support industry through the new training center. The college earlier was awarded $6.3 million in grants from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and the state of Oregon to finance the construction of a new CTE Center. 

The money can’t be used for supplies or equipment. Thanks to the Cunningham Foundation, which has been a longtime supporter of TVCC, the college will have money to equip the new building.

Cathy Yasuda, executive director of the TVCC Foundation, credits the Bettis family for helping the college remove barriers for students.

“The Bettis family has always been trailblazers when it comes to investing in projects that improve the community,” Yasuda wrote in a statement.

The Bettis family has deep roots in Idaho. Harry Bettis, who serves as the president of the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation, is the great grand-nephew of banker C.W. Moore, the founder of the First National Bank of Idaho. 

The bank continues as part of U.S. Bank today. Bettis’ great aunt, Laura Moore Cunningham, was a civic leader and visionary for whom the foundation was created.

The Cunningham Foundation, one of Idaho’s oldest and largest foundations, has awarded TVCC more than $1 million over the years. An annual gift of $75,000 has benefited Idaho students at TVCC through scholarships.

“This financial support will be good for economic development and helping meet the workforce needs,” Yasuda told the Malheur Enterprise. She had been a public information officer for 30 years before her current post at the college foundation, and prepared the grant request to the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation.

“I know that we’re going to need new equipment desperately, but we don’t know yet how much money we will need in total,” Yasuda added. “We have set $700,000 for other things we would need. But based on the fast pace of emerging technologies, we want the building to reflect the future.”

The college plans to expand the current Vo-Tech Building by adding 30,000 square feet and a new facade, according to Yasuda. The goal is to provide state-of-the-art training for students that will also meet local industry needs in the future. That is expected to help economic growth in the Treasure Valley through the development of an educated workforce.

“Our biggest challenge right now is to train and prepare the American workforce,” Yasuda said. “We want to prepare students for the jobs that are high in demand and high-paying.”

When finished, the CTE Center will be a high-tech facility, home to several programs including and engineering technology, mechatronics and welding.

Kristine de Leon: [email protected] or 541-473-3377.