Unemployment in Flathead County may be at 7.9% for the month of August, but that rate could get significantly lower in the future thanks to over $3.6 million from the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College Initiative.
"This will affect all students, whether they're traditional aged students coming right out of high school," said FVCC President Jane Karas, "or non-traditional students who've been out of college for a while and want to come back for retraining or never had an opportunity to got to college. They can come participate in this program. And there are opportunities for great jobs."
Around $2.9 million helps the college meet the manufacturing needs of businesses in Northwest Montana. The second grant is going towards online science classes so students have a chance to perform virtual experiments.
"Students, who because of geography or travel or family and work commitments can't make it to college for some of those classes, they'll be able to take those labs online and complete their health science degrees," explained Karas.
The college established partnerships with several manufacturing companies in the valley such as Plum Creek, Applied Materials, and Nomad Global Communications.
"All of those employers have been great partners and they've come to meetings and worked with us closely on this grant to ensure that what we put together will meet their needs so students we educate and train will be ready to step right into their doors and go right to work," she concluded.
Karas said once the grant money is in place they'll look to open up these programs as early as Spring 2013.