Governor visits Jefferson High School where they're setting up students for success

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Posted at 5:53 PM, Feb 05, 2024

HELENA — Students sawed and carved away in the woodworking lab during Governor Greg Gianforte’s visit to Jefferson High School this Monday. The governor was there to kick off Career and Technical Education Month.

Students at Jefferson are able to learn woodworking skills in the shop and then spend a handful of hours with Dick Anderson Construction to gain real-world experience.

“And it’s really just expanding the horizons for our students so they can pick careers that are a good match for their skills,” says Gianforte.

This partnership was made possible during the last legislative session where the Gianforte administration created a pathway for this exact kind of program.

Another bill passed during the legislative session made personal finance a requirement for Montana schools.

But Jefferson High School here has been offering a finance class for a decade.

Dawn Smartnick received an Outstanding Service Award from the Governor on Monday. She teaches the personal finance course at Jefferson High where students learn about filing taxes, investing, creating a budget, and more.

“Our older generation they’re like, you know, we really wish that these high schools would teach these practical filing taxes. It’s like, I could raise my hand and say, we do, you know. And now, everybody in the state of Montana can raise their hand and say, hey, we got them,” says Smartnick.

This type of course sets students up with life skills so they are prepared when they step out of their hometown and into the real world.

“Part of education is preparing people for adult life in the community and being good citizens and knowing how to manage finances are really important to make sure every individual can reach their full potential,” says Gianforte.