Attracting Older Adults a Key to 2-year Colleges

By Beacon Staff

MISSOULA – Two-year colleges must continue working to attract adult students while also making sure it’s known the schools are affiliated with the Montana University System, consultants told the Montana Board of Regents.

Also on Thursday, the deputy commissioner for two-year and community college education with the Montana University System said the schools are moving forward with plans that set new standards for two-year schools and that will allow the schools to be compared by the Montana Board of Regents.

“We’re moving at different places along the path,” said John Cech. “We’re almost finished with some of these coming-out events in terms of changing our names and signaling to our communities that there will be an expansion in the mission of our campuses.”

He noted it’s important to bring in adults, veterans and high school graduates into the state’s postsecondary system.

“One of our best opportunities to do that will be through the kind of programs found at our two-year campuses,” Cech said. “For a decade now, the board has been emphasizing two-year education and putting a spotlight on it.”

One school making changes is City College of Montana State University-Billings. Rolf Groseth, the school’s chancellor, said the school is looking to create new paths for students to earn their credentials, or work more closely with industry.

“It’s not quite like an internship, but rather, it’s more of a European model, working with industry to produce workers for them,” said Groseth. “We and Great Falls College are working with industries in our communities, like welding and fitting, to achieve some of those areas.”

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