Jan 11, 2016

FVCC Receives Grant for Study Abroad Program in Colombia

Kalispell, Mont. – Flathead Valley Community College (FVCC) was one of five colleges in the nation selected to receive a grant from the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund’s SENA (Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje) Tech Challenge 2015. The award was announced by Vice President Joe Biden at a White House reception in December.

The goal of 100,000 Strong in the Americas is to increase the number of U.S. students studying in the Western Hemisphere to 100,000 and the number of Western Hemisphere students studying in the United States to 100,000 by the year 2020. The initiative is aimed at enhancing hemispheric competitiveness, increasing prosperity and preparing a more globally competent workforce.

FVCC received $40,000 from the SENA Tech Challenge 2015 to support a study abroad and student exchange program with a technical college in Manizales, Colombia. FVCC and the SENA Centro de Automatización Industrial have strong advanced manufacturing and renewable energy programs and will collaborate to blend these two disciplines into a project with meaningful outcomes for students from both institutions.

SENA is a Colombian public institution that provides free vocational and technical training to around nine million Colombians annually. It is Colombia’s largest public institution, with 117 industry-specific training centers located throughout the country.

“This grant affords FVCC the opportunity to create the first student exchange program with a post-secondary institution in Latin America, and the first study abroad opportunity designed specifically for FVCC’s large occupational trades cohort,” said FVCC Director of International Student Services Gerda Reeb.

A group of FVCC students and instructors will travel to Manizales, Colombia in July and spend two weeks learning about the country’s advancements in the development and use of wind energy in the agriculture industry. In September, FVCC will welcome a group of Colombian students and instructors to Kalispell, where they will spend two weeks participating in classes, cultural tours and community activities centered on renewable resources.

“This partnership will infuse a global education component to FVCC’s occupational trades program,” said Reeb. “Global competencies are sought-after skills in today’s economy. FVCC is preparing its students to join the ranks of a globally competent workforce and gain access to job or business opportunities that require intercultural skillsets.”

The 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund is a public-private collaboration of the White House, U.S. Department of State, Partners of the Americas and NAFSA: Association of International Educators. Since its creation in 2014, 100,000 Strong in the Americas has awarded 70 Innovation Fund grants to 153 higher education institution teams from 19 countries in the Western Hemisphere.

For more information, visit or contact Gerda Reeb at (406)756-3889.