MISSOULA — A relationship that's developed in recent years between the University of Montana and a local tech company has become a model of success for both entities as well as a growing number of UM graduates.
In recent years, the University of Montana has been working to team up with local businesses to give students more opportunities for work-based experience to enhance their skill set upon graduation. The relationship they’ve developed with ATG’s Missoula-based office is at the forefront of this effort.
“We think it’s really important that we work directly with employers and industry leaders to tailor programs to meet workforce demands both here in Missoula and across Montana and the Aim Higher program with ATG is really a blueprint for what successful partnership between employers and education can look like," UM President Seth Bodnar said.
ATG Executive Director Kym Corwin says everyone benefits from this partnership -- UM, ATG, and students.
“It’s been really important since day one with ATG with founding ATG to have that relationship with the University of Montana," Corwin explained. "We’ve always had these incredible ideas, it’s always been a reciprocal relationship in saying how can we best set up our students for success post-graduation and then us to say how can we best set up students for success during their college years so that they’re ready afterward.”
While the partnership has been in place for several years, it was 2018 when it really ramped up when Cognizant acquired ATG and started the Aim Higher program. It's an intense 12-week program to train students from the ground up on every facet of what ATG does.
This opened the door for more current students as well as UM alumni. Andrea Bowman who graduated with a degree in Marketing and Managing says the education she received from UM has been a springboard for success at ATG,
“I had a lot of leadership classes and a lot of classes around innovation and marketing and even though we are consulting and implementing a product that marketing comes into play because you’re constantly working with clients, you’re marketing yourself to them and you’re letting them know that you’re going to perform a good job for them," Bowman told MTN News.
UM alum Hailey Hall says this partnership has brought her more than she could have ever expected. She’s come a long way from her tiny eastern Montana hometown of Broadus.
“Our technology was really limited to dial-up internet and for the majority, landlines and so reflecting on that now in my career is it’s just really special because I never thought I’d have the opportunity to work in tech," Hall said. "It wasn’t something I even thought of as a possibility.”
Lindsay Jones who graduated from UM over the weekend says the UM/ATG partnership has facilitated what she believes will be a successful career, “everybody’s been so kind and so forthcoming with just embracing us with open arms into the little ATG family, I guess it’s not a little family anymore.”
ATG is continuing its Aim Higher Training Program for the foreseeable future with the next session expected to begin sometime during mid to late summer.