Stevensville center gives people hope and confidence through education

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 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 saw a flyer for free job training,” Ishman said.

The program is designed to help people between the ages of 18 and 55 transition from low-income jobs to vital careers. Part of this process includes a lesson or two from Personal Skills Instructor Nancy Eckert.

“So my job is to give them the soft skills they need to be successful in a career,” Eckert said. “A lot of people who come to us have had a lot of jobs, but they’ve never had a career. ”

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

“What I learned in the personal development course was what I was missing, like what I was looking for all these years?” Ishman said. “And it was really like a sense of community and belonging, and faith really, like me in all of that.”

In order to graduate from the program, students must secure employment, and Ishaman is a prime example of the success seen during Summit’s four classes.

“That’s what I did in the program, it was the graphic design program,” Ishman told MTN News. “And it gave me the training I needed on Adobe and everything I needed to be confident and do something I had never done before.”

Ishman started his own graphic design business after graduating, making him a small business owner, a dream he always wanted to fulfill.

“I try to help you build confidence and people like me who had zero confidence where they start,” Ishman said.

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

“Our employer partners are an important part of our program,” Stevens wrote in an email to MTN News. “These are companies that support Summit Career Center and want to hire our leaders. They realize that our leaders have become good, responsible and responsible employees!”

“We also have what I call ‘workforce’ employers who are committed to hiring our leaders on a part-time basis while they complete our program,” the email continues. “Our leaders are to be on campus Monday through Thursday 8:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., then again Tuesday evening 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. for family reunion. These employers will work around our hours, should our leaders need a part work on time.”

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

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