Higher education key to Montana’s Economic Outlook

Higher education is a future-oriented business – educating and preparing the leaders of tomorrow. But what is the future for colleges and universities themselves? In an economy that increasingly rewards knowledge and expertise, the need to cultivate and grow a competitive, skilled and educated workforce is more vital than ever. Yet the way we do this, and the way we pay for it, have come under the microscope in recent years.

This year’s Economic Outlook Seminar examines the question of how Montana’s higher education system returns value to all of us who live and work here. The half-day seminar and luncheon marks the 43rd of the annual presentations.

This year’s keynote address, “The Future of Higher Education in Montana,” will be presented by Montana University System Regent Vice-Chair and Glacier Bank Market President Robert “Bob” Nystuen. He will discuss the five primary challenges impacting higher education in Montana – enrollment, funding, student completion, student debt and traditional mindsets.

Regent Nystuen said, “For 125 years Montanans have chosen to invest in accessible and affordable high-quality education that allowed generations of students to find jobs, make sizeable economic, social and cultural contributions, and create the one-of-a-kind fabric of our state. However, the public’s perspectives on the value of education – most notably higher education – have certainly become more varied and not necessarily in a good way.”

Patrick Barkey, University of Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research director, will discuss some of the issues with the state’s budget and provide insight into why lagging revenue collections required a recent special legislative session.

“The popular perception that the state’s economy is strong and thriving will be discussed during the program,” Barkey said. “What is the role of higher education in the state’s economy? Does Montana have a housing affordability problem? Where is the growth coming from in Montana? These and other questions concerning all Montanans will be addressed throughout the program.”

The seminars also will present the U.S., Montana and local area economic outlooks, as well as outlooks for other impor-

. tant economic sectors, such as real estate/housing, health care, manufacturing, energy, tourism and the wood products industry. City Commissioner Dave Byerly will report on Lewistown’s economy, as well as comment on the Fergus County economic outlook.

The registration fee includes the “Montana Economic Report 2018,” a book of the black-and-white PowerPoint presentations, lunch and a one-year subscription to “Montana Business Quarterly,” BBER’s award-winning business journal. Continuing education credits are available. Groups of five or more can receive a discount by registering online at http://www.economicoutlookseminar.com. And, Montana University System faculty and staff get a great discounted rate.

For more information or to register, visit www.economicoutlookseminar.com or call (406) 243-5113.



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