BUTTE - Highlands College in Butte started a pilot program to help military members and their families get manufacturing training in skills such as welding and machining.
“It’s awesome. It’s great, so many tools and instructors they know what they’re talking about too, so it’s a great place,” said student Caleb Daum.
Highlands College partnered with Next Frontier Advanced Manufacturing Institute and just started the Operation Next program that provides courses in welding and machining.
Veterans and family members will receive free tuition provided by generous donors.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity to offer a rapid training course so that these folks have something to look forward to – life after service,” said UTRS Representative Ben Kohler.
East Helena resident, Caleb Daum — who is 17 years old and the son of a US Army veteran — is grateful for a program that helps military families.
“I’ve been around quite a few veterans over the time with my dad being in the Army and they’re great people, but they need something to do after they get out or just further their education and whatnot,” he said.
Eligible people interested in the course can sign up at the Operation Next website.
Organizers say this first session, which started earlier this month, is very popular.
“When the word gets out, what this program can mean for veterans, military personnel, their families, this program, I think, is going to explode,” said Operation Next Manager Mark Samson.