For many communities, workforce development is a key challenge to economic development. For Missoula, the quality of our existing workforce is a key asset.
Missoula is one of the best-educated communities in the Northern Rockies. One in every four adult residents has earned a bachelor’s degree (compared to 15.5 percent of adults nationally) and 19 percent of adults — more than twice the national average — have earned a master’s degree or higher.
Missoula is also stocked with a large pool of skilled manufacturing workers, technicians and other professionals, thanks in large part to the presence of Missoula College and its wide range of one- and two-year technical degrees.
For employers seeking workers with specific technical skills or certifications, Missoula offers a full complement of workforce development resources to meet any need.
This expanding two-year college offers more than 30 programs that lead to a career or transfer to the four-year campus. Founded on occupational and technical education, today some of its most highly enrolled programs are diesel technology, energy technology, information technology, nursing, paralegal studies, welding technology and culinary arts. To support local businesses, UM’s Missoula College also provides customized employer- or industry-specific workforce training. And the college is an active partner with Missoula County Public Schools. (Prior to 2012, Missoula College was known as UM – College of Technology.)
Missoula Job Service
Missoula Job Service offers a growing menu of programs and services to support workforce development. Its expertise, recruitment and selection services, comprehensive applicant testing capabilities, and the availability of “neutral-zone” interviewing facilities together offer the tools that help attract and retain a superior workforce. The Missoula Job Service administers On the Job Training opportunities, which were created to encourage employers to hire unemployed and laid-off workers and to help businesses with the costs of training new employees. In addition, Missoula Job Service offers training assistance to eligible individuals who have experienced a layoff or are working but not earning a sustainable wage.
The Lifelong Learning Center
A program of Missoula County Public Schools, the Lifelong Learning Center helps enhance Missoula County’s workforce through skills classes, GED preparation and professional certification programs. What was established in 1957 with a class of 20 journeyman carpenters to learn welding skills has grown to a 2011 enrollment of more than 11,500. Students of all ages can earn certificates in programs that include medical office essentials, certified medical coding, EMT, phlebotomy, chairside dental assistant, certified nursing assistant, digital photography and webmaster. The Lifelong Learning Center also offers customized training programs and testing for employers.
Missoula County Public Schools
The public school system not only educates the children of Missoula area businesses and families, it supplies a steady stream of educated young adults ready to embark on higher education or professional/workforce training. With its eye on the young learners as well as the future careers they will need, the district is implementing thematic academies in its high schools, beginning with a Health Science Academy and an International Baccalaureate program. These and other programs are part of the MCPS 21st Century Model of Education — with its communitywide goal to create a model of education that supports students’ needs in the 21st century, providing them with the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in their careers and as future leaders in their communities.
The University of Montana
Located downtown, the state school provides undergraduate and graduate education, research and technical expertise and lifelong learner education. UM offers students many strengths — including its programs and research in education, forestry and wildlife, pharmacy and other biotechnology sciences. UM bioscience research efforts include ongoing work done in conjunction with the International Heart Institute. The School of Business educates and supports both students and local businesses with specific entrepreneurial development programs and research, and technology research specific to managing a business in the 21st century.