HELENA — On Montana at the State Capitol Building, students and others supporting technical training programs gathered for an event ahead of a hearing on an act of increased funding for technical education student organizations.
Students, program leaders, and their organizations from all over Montana set up around the capitol floor to present to legislators and lobbyists in hopes of securing more funding through House Bill 382.
Ashley Kim, a senior at Hellgate High School in Missoula, is also the current State President of HOSA, an organization for future health professionals. Kim said HOSA helped her challenge herself and improve important life skills.
"I think because HOSA has made me a very confident person, it's helped me develop my public speaking skills, it's helped me become a leader on my own. So I think everybody should have access to these opportunities," said Kim.
Augusta High School Student Sallie Orem is a current student president of the Future Farmers Association (FFA) and said the FFA has given her a wide variety of skills.
"There's so many things you can get out of a FFA, helps with public speaking and be able to talk to people you don't know. And it just helps with that like a lot of people at the time, at this time, have a hard time conversating, like having conversations with people, so it's very important. Get the word out, helps with basic skills that everyone needs," said Orem.
Republican House of Representatives Member Greg Oblander is the primary sponsor of HB 382. Oblander says the goal is to expand the reach of these programs to kids who might not have access to them.
"I never had this opportunity," said Oblander, "I feel very fortunate that all these kids that are here today get that opportunity to learn and grow and develop life skills."
If the measure passes, it would provide $1.5 million from the general fund for grants of up to $75,000 to technical education organizations or groups.