The Montana Board of Regents announced a new $25 million grant for the state’s two-year colleges, including $3.4 million for the Flathead Valley Community College to develop and expand innovative training programs.
“This grant is an absolute game-changer that will allow Montana colleges to take their job training efforts to the next level and meet the needs of Montana workers like never before,” Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian said in a news release.
The U.S. Department of Labor awarded the grant, which Christian announced at the Montana Board of Regent meeting in Butte Wednesday morning. He said the grant could not have been possible without support from U.S. Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester Tester and U.S. Rep. Steve Daines.
At FVCC, which received the second-highest grant, the money will be used to improve and expand advanced training programs for energy and manufacturing jobs.
John Cech, Deputy Commissioner for Two-Year and Community Colleges Education for Montana, said the grants were awarded to 13 two-year colleges, including two tribal colleges, and 57 employers in the state, representing the largest two-year education partnership effort in the history of Montana.
Baucus said he created the grant in 2009 and secured funding for it in the 2010 federal budget. The Montana university system says the money will help train workers in fast-growing areas with a shortage of workers, such as the oil fields in eastern Montana.
Certificate programs will come in such areas as metal fabrication, welding, industrial machining, diesel technology and other areas. The colleges also expect to expand training for commercial drivers’ licenses.
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