FVCC Awarded $3.65 Million in Grants to Develop and Expand Innovative Training Programs

Kalispell, Mont.—Flathead Valley Community College has been awarded two federal grants totaling $3,652,969 to develop and expand innovative training programs to enhance job training in Northwest Montana.  The grants are part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Community College and Career Training initiative which promotes skills development and employment opportunities in fields such as advanced manufacturing, transportation and health care, as well as science, technology, engineering and math careers through partnerships between training providers and local employers.  FVCC is one 297 schools across the nation to be awarded $500 million in community college grants implemented and administered by the of The U.S. Department of Labor in coordination with the U.S. Department of Education.

“We are excited to see the impact these grants will have on our students and area employers,” said President Jane Karas, Ph.D.  “We are grateful for the support of our nation’s congressional delegation and for their recognition of the importance of two-year colleges paving the way for our nation’s future.”

The first grant, in the amount of $2,999,969, will help the college respond to the needs of local employers in the manufacturing industry by transforming programming in advanced manufacturing.  The Amplifying Montana’s Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation and Industry Project will focus on meeting the needs of the nearly 600 local manufacturing businesses operating in Northwest Montana and will address the projected substantial job growth in the industry over the next few years.

“The recent emergence of our local manufacturing industry has left the public workforce and our college little time to respond to the growing workforce demands,” said Director, Career and Technical Education Pete Wade.  “This grant will help us serve TAA-eligible and other unemployed and incumbent workers in a timely and cost-effective manner while preparing them for local good-paying jobs in a booming industry.”

The project will focus on five priority activities:  creating latticed and connected short-term certificate programs in advanced manufacturing; adopting a National Career Readiness Certificate assessment of proficiencies; initiating the use of workforce navigators to better strategically align the college and public workforce development system partners, including the Montana State Workforce Investment Board, Flathead Job Service, Community Action Partnership, and Kootenai Job Service; transitioning to a technology-enabled emporium model of developmental mathematics; and strengthening entrepreneurship training through the creation of an entrepreneurship center on the FVCC campus to encourage growth of Northwest Montana’s small manufacturing cluster to catalyze job growth.

Employer partners in the project will include Raytheon, Applied Materials, Diversified Plastics, Inc., Zinc-Air, Inc., Plum Creek Timber Company, Synergy Aircraft, Sonju Industrial, MC Squared, Defiance, MilTech, Distinctive Countertops, The Montana Rifleman, Inc., Timberline Tool, The Thompson Group and Nomad Global Communications.  Other key project partners will include the Flathead Valley Community College Foundation, Montana West Economic Development, and the National Association of Community College Entrepreneurs.

The second grant, totaling $653,000, was awarded to FVCC through a partnership with Pueblo Community College in Pueblo, Colo., to help create remote laboratory experiences for FVCC’s allied health programs.  The grant will enable classes such as chemistry, physics and biology that form the foundation of health care prerequisite classes to be offered online, enabling students to conduct virtual science experiments.

“Due to our lack of online courses in many allied health prerequisite areas, there have been challenges for many part-time TAA-eligible students who haven’t had access to training during typical daytime hours because they are working full-time or taking care of their families,” said Vice President of Instruction and Student Services Kristen Jones, Ed.D.   “This grant will revolutionize our science labs, enhancing clinical skills education and providing students more opportunities to take the classes they need to achieve their educational goals in a timely manner.”

Programs that will be impacted by this grant include the college’s Practical Nursing Associate of Applied Science degree, Associate of Science in Nursing degree and Paramedicine Associate of Applied Science degree.  The grant also will create a new pre-nursing certificate to prepare students interested in pursuing careers in nursing.  The certificate will provide new opportunities for students beyond what the college’s Certified Nurse’s Aide training offers, including greater likelihood of being hired as professional health home aides and higher wages.

For more information, contact Associate Director, Grants and Resource Development Matt Springer at (406) 756-3636 or at mspringer@fvcc.edu.

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