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Great Falls forum addresses workforce preparation

Posted at 5:55 PM, Oct 13, 2023

GREAT FALLS — 60 community stakeholders and legislatures gathered at the Great Falls History Museum in discussing ways to set students up for success.

Referred to as “Connections in Education, workforce, and local business." those from their respective roles and organizations addressed the challenges facing Montana’s workforce. Those challenges, is what they say, starts with education along with leaders and organizations doing their part in engaging with students and providing them with the essential skills.

The event was hosted by Great Falls Public Schools, Great Falls Development Alliance, Kids' Education Yes (KEY), and Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce.

“We were fortunate to be able to host this event," said attendee, Beth Leatham. "'Kids' Education Yes' is an organization that works to bring community together in support of our public schools, and we were able to bring business leaders, and education leaders to talk about the importance of workforce development here in our community.”

Attendees worked together in discussing the various ways education can be improved, coupled with the roles that business and legislatures should play in providing students with the skills needed to kickstart their careers.

“That was the entire purpose," said participant, Jamie Marshall. "Long group conversations, large group conversations, and the way to move things forward and to help our community grow through connections.”

Those who presented agreed that while there is significant progress being made, there is also still plenty of work to do in setting Montana students up for a successful career and bright future.

According to the U.S. Census bureau, from 2017 to 2021, just over 93 percent at the age of 25 and older in Great Falls were high school graduates or higher, while just over 27 percent acquired a bachelor s degree or higher during that same time frame.