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Stevensville's Summit Career Center offers hope, confidence through education

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Posted at 4:30 PM, Aug 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-30 10:05:32-04

STEVENSVILLE - The mission of the Summit Career Center in Stevensville is to give people a new set of skills and a second chance at a career that they can be proud of.

“We want to give them that confidence to go out there and know they can do it,” said Jacqueline Stevens, director of development.

Confidence is exactly what Summit Career Center graduate Jeremiah Ishman needed when he found the free six month program.

“I was doing laundry at the local laundry mat here in Stevensville and I saw a flier for free career training,” Ishman said.

The program is designed to help people between 18 and 55 years old get out of low-income paying jobs into a life sustaining career. Part of that process includes a lesson or two from Personal Skills Instructor Nancy Eckert.

“So my job is to give them the soft skills that they need in order to be successful in a career," Eckert said. "A lot of people that come to us have gone through many jobs, but they've never had a career.”

The class does a variety of self reflection and foundational skill exercises over six weeks to help prepare people for personal and career growth.

“What I learned in the self development class was like, what I was missing like what was I searching for all these years?" said Ishman. "And it really was like a sense of community and belonging, and faith really, like it brought me to all that stuff."

In order to graduate from the program, students must obtain a job, and Ishaman is a great example of the success seen over the four classes at Summit.

“That's what I did in the program was the graphic design program," Ishman told MTN News. "And so it gave me the education I needed on Adobe and everything that I needed to be confident and doing something I'd never done before.”

Ishman started his own graphic design business after graduating — making him a small business owner which is a dream he always wanted to accomplish.

“I try to help you know build confidence and people like me that had no confidence where they're starting," said Ishman.

The program also partners with local businesses to help students network.

"Our Employer Partners are an important part of our program," wrote Stevens in an email to MTN News. "These are companies who support Summit Career Center and want to hire our leaders. They realize our Leaders have become good, responsible, accountable employees!"

"We also have what I call "work force" employers who have committed to hiring our Leaders part time while they are going through our program," the email continued. "Our leaders must be on campus Monday-Thursday 8:45-3:30 then again on Tuesday evenings from 6:00-8:00 for Family Gathering. These employers will work around our hours, if our Leaders are in need of part time employment."

Myla Yahraus is the founder of the Summit Career Center which is currently accepting applications for its first Missoula class, which will start on Nov. 1.