BUTTE, Mont.- This morning, Governor Steve Bullock opened the Beyond the Classroom Symposium in Butte surrounded by educators and business leaders from across the state to discuss how to engage more young Montanans using work-based learning models to further grow Montana’s workforce and economy.
“As Montana businesses are looking to expand and grow, it is critical that they have the skilled workforce that will support and sustain that growth,” said Governor Bullock. “By bringing employers, educators, economic development agencies, and all stakeholders together, we are elevating work-based learning as a key strategy to prepare Montana students for high-demand, high-wage jobs in every corner of the state.”
Work-based learning is a continuum of activities that engage employers and extend the classroom into the workplace, connecting acquired knowledge and skills to a student’s future employment. This learning can take place through training models such as pre-apprenticeship, apprenticeships, and clinical experiences.
Montana Teacher of the Year, Jessica Anderson sees the value of work-based learning with her students as they prepare to enter Montana’s workforce.
“As a science teacher, my classes augment their time with real-world learning during the school year,” said Anderson. “Not all learning takes place at a desk and moving beyond the classroom gives students the ability to apply what they learn.”
Through the Montana Department of Labor & Industry, work-based learning models continue to help businesses grow their talent pipelines by helping to design and implement apprenticeships across the state.
“With over 700 business sponsors and more apprentices signing up every day, we are seeing the interest in work-based learning continue to be a method used to train employees with both the hard and soft skills needed to lead in a 21st Century economy,” said Labor & Industry Commissioner Pam Bucy. “Montana doesn’t have time to wait 2, 4 or even 6 years for people to enter the workforce. Work-based learning provides opportunities in a broad spectrum of industries including STEM, construction, and manufacturing, among many other occupations.”
The Beyond the Classroom Symposium is the fourth in the Main Street Montana Project Peer-to-Peer Series to exchange ideas and learn from other industry professionals.
Bullock launched the Main Street Montana Project in 2013, and tapped two of Montana’s most respected and accomplished business leaders: Larry Simkins, CEO of the Washington Companies, and Bill Johnstone, CEO of D.A. Davidson Companies to lead the effort.
For more information about the Main Street Montana Project visit www.mainstreetmontanaproject.com.