MISSOULA — University of Montana President Seth Bodnar joined LeeAnne Rimel of Salesforce and Sonia Flamm of Advanced Technology Group, a Cognizant company, at the Dreamforce conference in San Francisco recently, where they touted Missoula-created collaborative education programs for local corporate partners.
They also touted their partnership in creating over 60 new trailblazing jobs in Montana in less than a year.
The three entities developed a course for UM’s College of Business called Information Infrastructures: A Strategic Perspective – plus a 12-week training program, All In Missoula (AIM), offered through Missoula College.
Both programs served as case studies for their Dreamforce presentation and advance the trend for securing public and private partnerships.
Basically, it is vital that education keep pace with the economy and complex, ever-changing business technology, said Bodnar.
DreamForce, an annual four-day event that drew 170,000 participants and featured 2,700 information sessions, draws together the Salesforce community from far and wide to celebrate trailblazers and customer success. The conference included keynotes on visionary thinking, the future of technology, among many other topics.
Salesforce is ATG’s market-leading customer success platform. ATG is located in downtown Missoula.
In October, UM launched its Tech Skills for Tomorrow Initiative, aimed at providing education and training to address the high-tech workforce needs of Montana businesses.
Peter Coffee, Salesforce vice president for strategic research, introduced Bodnar, Rimel and Flamm at the conference. Coffee assists with UM’s College of Business program and consults with ATG.
Coffee praised UM’s agility and strength in developing the training programs.
“The speed and intensity of innovation – in every economic sector and institution of society – require students to master current technology, to engage with new material, to work in diverse teams and to adapt quickly to demands for future-ready skills,” said Coffee. “Public/private partnerships between universities and business and technology sectors will be vital for delivering an education that meets this accelerating challenge.”
Bodnar said the university aims to provide students with the skills and knowledge to succeed today, plus lay a solid foundation for lifelong learning. He acknowledged that an individual’s career, in the current ecosystem, requires change, adaptation and constantly learning new skills.
“Our collaboration with ATG Cognizant and Salesforce is one embodiment of Tech Skills for Tomorrow,” said Bodnar. “Universities have an important role to play in addressing workforce demands and preparing students for success. We call it a ‘tomorrow-proof’ education – one that empowers students to reinvent themselves and adapt their skills in an ever-changing world. I’m eager to share our experience and learn about new possibilities to expand and build upon our success.”
The university, he said, follows such trends, needs and challenges within the rapidly changing world of work, which Tech Skills for Tomorrow specifically addresses.
“We are actively adapting our programs at the 2-year, 4-year, and graduate level, and we’re designing a new lifelong learning environment that provides access—onramps—at various stages for people to up-skill or re-skill during their careers.
Among the high-profile Dreamforce speakers were former President Barack Obama, Apple CEO Tim Cook, World Cup soccer player Megan Rapinoe and cellist Yo-Yo Ma.
Since 2003, Dreamforce has gathered together worldwide users of Salesforce, a Cloud computing service that helps businesses connect with customers, partners and potential customers.