Jun 25, 2013 12:32 PM by Tara Grimes (firstname.lastname@example.org)
GREAT FALLS - Great Falls College-MSU will soon have a more robust welding program, thanks to a $1.4 million dollar grant.
Governor Steve Bullock visited the campus on Monday to make the announcement.
The money will go toward 20 new welding stations, which staff says will help train more students to go after high-paying jobs in the state's booming energy industry.
With the steel fabrication company ADF coming to Great Falls with roughly 200 jobs, Bullock says the grant will help give those jobs to those who live in Montana.
He also says the larger facility will help train students for good-paying jobs in the Bakken oil fields in eastern Montana and North Dakota.
Bullock noted, "It's exciting because it's five months in the making. This shows times when we can bring our educational system together, economic development actors, and private industry that all have good ideas and bring them all together and say, how do we expand?"
Susan Wolff, Great Falls College-MSU Dean, said, "This is huge. This is diversifying the economy, it's bringing family-wage jobs, too, so I look at this as my first gift."
Currently the college accepts 40 students into its welding program, but by the time the upgrades are implemented in about a year, Wolff says they will be able to admit up to 120 students.