STEVENSVILLE, Mont. - A new nonprofit, Summit Career Center, is working to train more skilled workers in the Stevensville area, for free.
While the career center provides free career training for folks who may not otherwise get access, nearby businesses area also getting the chance to hire qualified workers from their own community.
They just graduated their inaugural class of six. These graduates will go on to careers in fields like dental hygiene, medical billing, HVAC and electrical and small businesses.
Marty Wilson-Nolen enrolled in the program after a back injury forced him to give up his trucking career after 17 years.
He said the program changed his life.
"In the first six weeks, I went from dazed and confused to somebody that can talk to people and actually get business done," Wilson-Nolen said.
He'll go on to own a small business in woodworking. He already has one contract set up with a set of Missoula apartments making signs .
"Everyone here has been so great to me," Wilson-Nolen said. "I can't even begin to say how much I am thankful for that."
Throughout the program, students learn personal development, complete a certification course and have the opportunity to network with local businesses at weekly dinners.
"One of the things that has been so great for me to see is the overwhelming support of the community," Jacqueline Stevens, director of development at Summit Career Center, said. "We've had people just drop by and say, I saw your sign, we heard what you were doing, and we want to be a part of it. And that's so exciting."
The career center is looking to team up with more local businesses and provide their students with more allies. These businesses are from throughout Ravalli and Missoula counties, and they get a chance to build lasting relationships that end up with qualified local employees.
The center is currently accepting applications. The next program begins June 1.
There's also a variety of ways to help out the nonprofit. For more information on how to volunteer, donate or apply to their program, click here.