GREAT FALLS – East Middle School received a $30,000 grant from AT&T on Tuesday to create a student-run entrepreneurship program.
The grant is designed to help students develop skills to transition from the classroom to the workplace.
The grant was awarded to Jobs For Montana’s Graduates, a Montana Department of Labor & Industry program devoted to teaching students skills they need for college or career readiness.
JMG will help launch the class with grant funding, but students will establish a business called Ram Enterprise and manage all day-to-day operations.
The students will run every aspect of Ram Enterprise including hiring their peers, producing goods, marketing, and accounting.
Students learn trade skills including woodworking, engraving, and ceramics. Projects will include creating cutting boards, coasters, and other goods to be sold at events and venues for a real paycheck.
Governor Steve Bullock attended the ceremony, and said in a press release: “This is an incredible opportunity to equip Montana’s future businessmen and women, entrepreneurs, and problem-solvers with the skills needed to ensure a bright future and one day be leaders in our great state. I look forward to all of the amazing things these Montana students will accomplish with this support from AT&T and Jobs for Montana’s Graduates.”
“We’re proud to be the first middle school in the nation to receive this generous grant from AT&T,” said Tammy Lacey, Superintendent of Great Falls Public Schools. “Students at East Middle School will be part of an innovative program that teaches entrepreneurial skills and creates a meaningful path to a career.”
East Middle School is the first middle school in the country to receive an Aspire grant from AT&T.
Montana is one of 24 state programs to share $3.5 million from AT&T. The $30,000 grant is part of AT&T Aspire, which provides access to education and training people need to get and keep good jobs. Since 2008, AT&T has committed $450 million to help millions of students in all 50 states and around the world.