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Kim Latrielle: Missoula Chamber partners with MT Dept. of Labor

Kim Latrielle: Missoula Chamber partners with MT Dept. of Labor


For the past two years, the Missoula Area Chamber of Commerce has been focused on a few key initiatives for the Missoula business community. All of the Chamber’s initiatives focus on issues impacting the workforce. Our workforce initiatives include child care, pathways to careers and addiction.

One of those initiatives is reaching a key milestone.

Two years ago, the Chamber launched event called Pathways to Careers. We brought together high school guidance counselors and members of the business community to highlight career opportunities for today’s high school students that do not necessarily require a 4-year college degree. These are opportunities that promise a good income and, often, on-the-job training or paid education.

It became apparent that there was a need to gather this information into one place so guidance counselors, teachers and parents could easily access it when helping students map out their future.

Working with the Montana Department of Labor, the Missoula Chamber of Commerce is preparing to launch a statewide website that will feature the many career opportunities for high school students and those looking to change careers. This Workforce Connections website has been over a year in the making and will connect employers with tomorrow’s workforce.

The Chamber is collaborating with employers across many industry sectors to ensure the website launches with as much information as possible about opportunities within our community. Many of these career fields promise a good income for years to come and employers are eager to bring in new workers. We’re also working with the local Job Service office to spread the word to employers to submit their opportunities to Workforce Connections.

As the site rolls out, the Missoula Chamber will reach out to our Chamber colleagues around the state to encourage them to include businesses in their community in this effort. As the database of career opportunities builds, students from Missoula will be able to search for opportunities throughout Montana. Likewise, students from outside of Missoula will be able to search out opportunities for careers in Missoula.

The Chamber is thankful for its many partners in the education community who have contributed to the success of both the Pathways to Careers events as well as the new Workforce Connections website. Their participation and feedback has allowed us to create a tool that we believe will be useful to students and those who support them for years to come.

We also thank the many, many members of the business community who have participated in our events and who are embracing the Workforce Connections website. We’re excited to have a new tool in helping them find tomorrow’s workforce to fill the amazing opportunities they have to offer.

The Missoula Chamber will continue to work on the workforce initiatives listed above. We’re currently analyzing data from our second child care survey. This survey will give us an updated view of the needs of our community and the impacts Covid-19 has had on Missoula’s child care offerings.

We have also added two additional initiatives we’ll be working on over the next year. The first is working to better support our local legislators during the 2021 Legislature. We’re currently meeting with all seated legislators as well as all candidates for offices from Missoula. We’re looking for opportunities to support each other and collaborate on issues impacting Missoula.

Our second new initiative is supporting the University of Montana and Missoula College. We’ll be partnering with UM to find ways the Missoula business community can better support our university. The success of the Missoula business community is closely tied to the success of the University of Montana. It has a big impact on our local economy and the Chamber believes we can find new ways to help attract students and boost enrollment.

The Missoula Area Chamber of Commerce is excited about the work we’ve done on the new Workforce Connections website and the ongoing work with all of our initiatives. We’re grateful for the partners we have throughout the community who work with us every day to continue moving Missoula forward.

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