Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - Applications are being accepted right now on Montana’s reservations for the Tribal Boost Scholarship Program.

I spoke with Sam Loveridge, Public Information Officer with the Montana Department of Labor and Industry about the program to help teachers on the state’s reservations successfully help Indian students pursue computer programming and other technology-related careers.

Introducing the Tribal Computer Boost Scholarship Program

“This is actually a new program that was passed by the 2023 legislature, sponsored by Representative Jonathan Windy Boy,” began Loveridge. “Basically this created the Tribal Computer Boost Scholarship Program. I know that's kind of a mouthful, but that was the name that came up with it. And basically what we're offering through the Department of Labor are scholarships for teachers who teach at tribal schools.”

Loveridge said this program is specifically designed for teachers on the state’s Indian Reservations.

The Grants are for Teachers on the State's Reservations

“So the goal of this is to have teachers apply for this,” he said. “The program defrays the expenses of professional development classes in the IT and computer programming fields. Each tribe is allotted $6,000 dollars. That's three $2,000 scholarships, two for high school teachers, and then one for a K through eight teacher.”

Loveridge explained the overall goals of the program.

“Our goal is that we really want students on Native American reservations to pursue computer programming and technology related careers, as we see that's becoming more and more of a need in Montana,” he said. “We're helping teachers pay the cost to go get further education so they can bring it back to their classrooms and teach these students and really give them the background and information they need to either become interested in this or to gain the skills they have to jump into the workforce.”

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The Goal is for Native American Students to Gain More Computer Skills

Loveridge said the program will provide a real boost to teachers and their students on Montana’s Indian Reservations.

“The ones we're paying are Montana University System community colleges and tribal colleges located in the state and so I think this is going to be a nice perk of teaching in Indian country, because we can help teachers grow educationally,” he said. “That's not only something they can teach their class, but its good important skills for their (own) career development as well.”

Those interested can learn more or apply for the scholarship here.

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