A recent Wallethub ranking put Montana at eighth best unemployment rate recovery, even as the pandemic seems to continue dragging on. The rating used figures from September in 2021 and September in 2019 for comparison with this past September. While that's a good number, a new college program may help Montana continue to improve.

Adding to that process of getting people back to work, Missoula College of the University of Montana announced a new partnership with Elite One Source. The collaboration will bring a new certificate program to the Missoula-based manufacturer of diet supplements and other custom projects. It's called the Manufacturing Certificate of Technical Skills and will be offered through classes at the college. And, those enrolled can continue working for a general associate of science degree or a University of Montana bachelor's degree. The classes include tech skills, communication, career readiness, human relations and workplace safety.

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A UM news release noted that the certificate will also be of interest to others in the manufacturing industry. Missoula College Dean Tom Gallagher said, "This manufacturing partnership is the first of its kind. It is an innovative program and has been created based upon the needs of the employer."

Elite One Source Director of Operations Alex Fowler said, "We feel that the existing gap in talent is the largest threat to our future growth plans...With a strong program that produces ready-to-work frontline industrial manufacturing associates, the Missoula manufacturing community should have a steady talent pipeline and can continue to satisfy customers for years to come."

The new program is also supported by the Montana Manufacturing Extension Center, which saw the course as a possible model for other colleges in Montana. They said the biggest challenge for Montana-bases manufacturers is getting a skilled workforce. For more information, check the Missoula College website.

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