The Educated Workforce of Butte, Montana

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An Interview with Karen Van DaVeer, Dean of Highlands College

Butte has multiple higher education options that attract both in-state and out-of-state students. The programs offered by these schools contribute to the city’s hardworking, highly-skilled workforce. Highlands College is one of these well respected higher education options. With a wide variety of two year degrees and certificates, Highlands College works hard to prepare and train students for the workforce. In this article we will share the interview we held with Karen Van DaVeer, Dean of Highlands College, about the school, her students and the workforce in Butte

Highlands College

Montana Connections: How long have you lived in Butte?

Van DaVeer: I am a native to Butte, Montana!

Montana Connections: What is your favorite part about Butte?

Van DaVeer: The people and our love of community.

Montana Connections: Do you have any comments on how Butte is experiencing economic growth and development?

Van DaVeer: We are being recognized as an undiscovered gem, with huge growth potential. We have a university to help meet workforce needs.

Montana Connections: Tell us a little bit about Highlands College.

Van DaVeer: Highlands College of Montana Technological University serves our community and greater Butte region through offering associate degree and certificate programs, continuing education and customized training. Students can choose to complete a degree designed to help them enter the workforce immediately, or earn credits that may be transferred to a four-year degree program.

Montana Connections: What programs does Highlands College offer and which are most popular?

Van DaVeer: Highlands College offers:

  • Associate of Science (AS) Degree for students interested in transferring to a four year degree program.
  • Business and Accounting Technology
  • Health Care
  • Information Technology
  • Trades and Technical Education

The most popular are:

  • Radiologic Technology AAS
  • Pre-Apprenticeship Line Program
  • Construction Technology-Carpentry
  • Metals Fabrication
Highlands College Students

Montana Connections: How is Highlands College working to make a difference in the Butte community?

Van DaVeer: We work with our local community and industries to meet the employment needs.

Montana Connections: Have you seen an influx of out-of-state students or out-of-state businesses in the Butte economy recently?

Van DaVeer: I have seen an increased interest in our community and lifestyle.

Downtown Butte

Montana Connections: What else would you like to tell us about Highlands and the development of Butte, Montana?

Van De Veer: My love and dedication to Montana Technological University and Highlands College is supported by my 30 plus years of employment. The two-year college has great potential with Career Technical Education. Our mission is to listen to industry and our community to provide the education needed to improve our workforce. I believe optimism, respect and kindness will help guide our actions and help students graduate.

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