FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 2, 2015
Mike Wessler, Deputy Communications Director, Governor’s Office, 406.444.9725
Stacy Rogge, Regional Communications Director, Providence Western Montana, 406.329.2910
Hatton Littman, Director of Technology & Communications, Missoula County Public Schools 406.728.240 ext. 1024
Missoula, Mont. – As part of his “College and Career Readiness” Back to School Tour, Governor Steve Bullock today was joined by representatives from Providence St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula as they announced a $50,000 investment in Big Sky High School’s Health Science Academy. The investment will allow the school to offer industry certifications to seniors in the program, qualifying students for health jobs such as phlebotomist, emergency medical technician, or certified nursing assistant (CNA). The contribution was made by Providence St. Patrick Hospital.
“It is critical that we provide students with access to a quality education that equips them with the skills, knowledge, and experience that will help them compete for Montana’s most in-demand careers,” Bullock said of the announcement. “With this investment, the Big Sky Health Science Academy will provide students with not only those skills, but certifications that will help them secure a job after graduation or provide a foundation for their college career.”
The Big Sky High School Health Science Academy’s mission is to provide students with an intellectually challenging and relevant education in a small, supportive environment. Every student enrolled will not only complete high school, but will do so with the knowledge and skills to be successful in a post-secondary educational program. The academy’s teachers and administrators work with parents and community partners to develop opportunities through which students can become exceptional and well-rounded scholars and citizens. The curriculum is college-preparatory with a focus on careers in the medical health sciences and in veterinary/animal science.
“As one of the largest employers in Missoula County and the leading health care provider in Western Montana, we are thrilled to support Big Sky’s outstanding Health Science Academy. We applaud these students’ efforts to pursue the education and skills to prepare them for a successful career in health care,” said Jeff Fee, CEO of Providence Health & Services Western Montana Region.
Health care is one of Montana’s largest industries, and is expected to continue to be the fastest growing in the state, adding roughly 1,300 new jobs every year through 2024. Jobs in the health care industry pay a higher salary than the state average.
“The best thing about participating in the Health Science Academy is the fact that I have the confidence in my knowledge and skills to go into college and succeed. That confidence has helped me right now in high school and I know it will help me when I enter the workforce after college,” remarked Kennedy Bahm, Big Sky High School Senior.
“Big Sky High School staff and parents see the increases in student competency from spending the past three years in the Health Science Academy. During student job shadows in the community, the feedback from the health care employers in Missoula was that our students had so much more entry level knowledge than they expected. Our students have four extra years of biomedical science courses that help them be ready for careers,” said Natalie Jaeger, principal of Big Sky High School.
This week, as part of his tour, Bullock is announcing steps to expand programs that ensure students of all ages have access to educational programs that ensure they’re college and career ready. Earlier this week, he announced a $1 million grant to bolster career training programs throughout Montana.