Big Sky Roundup

Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation awards $1 million for career, technical education in Montana

By: - June 29, 2022 3:44 pm

Montana University System

The Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation recently awarded the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education, or OCHE, $1 million to support career and technical education in Montana.

Called “Montana’s Future at Work,” the newly launched initiative aims to increase awareness about needs in specific fields in communities throughout Montana. With the donation, the Montana University System will be able to promote opportunities in high-demand fields such as welding, carpentry, healthcare, construction and information technology directly to students, parents, counselors and stakeholders, according to a news release from the MUS.

“On behalf of the MUS, I am incredibly grateful to the Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation for its investment in the Montana’s Future at Work initiative, as well as its continuing commitment to improving lives through education and workforce opportunity in Montana,” said Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian in a statement. “We are looking forward to highlighting the importance of CTE training and the many career opportunities that are available in CTE fields directly to high school students and their families.”

The Montana’s Future at Work initiative will accelerate and intensify workforce training across the state by connecting students to specific opportunities starting in high school, said the university system.  By working with students during high school – and into their professional careers – Montana’s Future at Work will expand the pipeline of new graduates ready to meet the needs of specific industries and businesses.

Mike Halligan, executive director of the Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation, said “the focus of the Montana’s Future at Work initiative on student success and specialized business needs aligns with our long-standing interest in supporting education and economic development in Montana.”

“We are excited about this investment and the direct connections it will provide between high school students, communities, two-year college campuses, and Montana’s businesses.”

To address workforce needs across the state, colleges and universities in the Montana University System are aggressively expanding and supporting additional educational opportunities for CTE fields, the news release said.

Montana’s Future at Work initiative will build on existing efforts by MUS two-year college campuses across the state to engage with community and business partners to ensure that workforce training aligns with specific community needs.

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