With a one-semester program you could land a job starting at $75,000 a year working as an electric lineman in Montana. Compare that to some kids attending a 4-year liberal arts program, getting saddled with tens of thousands in student loan debt, and then lucky to find a job paying even $40,000 a year.

Earlier this Fall I was able to attend the Montana Equipment Dealers Association convention in Whitefish. While there, we heard some great conversations about reinvigorating career and technical education (CTE) in the high schools.

During a recent trip to Butte, I was able to catch up with Bill Ryan from Highlands College- the college of technology in Butte. I got to meet Bill at the equipment dealers convention. Bill has some great ideas about how to boost career and tech ed in Montana high schools. He also had some great things to share about what they're doing at Highlands College.

Part of what Highland College is doing is working to blend both 2-year and 4-year programs for students:

The way I run it is like an apprenticeship. My guys are out there working. We build 5-6 houses a year for national affordable housing. We just built an activities center for an under-privileged kids camp...

 

Bill Ryan also has a great idea about integrating folks from the private sector into our high schools as CTE instructors. Click below to hear about that idea and much more: