Sep 17, 2013 3:59 PM by Marnee Banks - MTN News

Big announcements come from MT Economic Development Summit

BUTTE - It's day two of the Montana Economic Development Summit, and there's a pair of big announcements coming out of the Mining City.

Tuesday morning got off to a strong start with some huge American companies promising to expand their operations in Montana.

Jim McNerney The Boeing Company CEO announced a $35 million expansion to its Helena facility, a move that Boeing expects will add 20 to 25 jobs to the fabrication plant, and 55,000 square feet to the manufacturing space.

"This is a critically important part of the structure of any airplane. It's the part that joins the body to the wing - that can't fail," McNerney said.

The Helena facility manufactures these parts for new the fleet of Boeing Dreamliners, the 787-8, 787-9 and 787-10.

The 787-9 just took it's maiden flight seating an additional 40 passengers and flying 1,000 miles farther. Meanwhile, the 787-10 is still in preliminary manufacturing. Each Dreamliner ranges in cost from $70 million or $300 million.

Another big announcement came from Greg Gianforte, the founder of Right Now Technologies. He is starting a program called CodeMontana to encourage high school students to pursue careers in computer science.

It's estimated that by 2020, there will be 1 million more jobs in the field than there are graduates - and Montana is no exception.

"Last spring, Montana State University graduated 19 computer science graduates. U of M graduated 18. Montana Tech graduated 9 - for a statewide total of 44. That's 44 jobs for 400 openings," Gianforte said.

CodeMontana is an online curriculum where students can learn the basics of computer programming. Gianforte hopes that by getting kids interested in these careers they will be able to fill the need for high tech employees.


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