Few things in life are so frustrating and scary than facing unemployment. And though the economy seems to be struggling to better footing, there will always be a need for services to help people find jobs.

Today the Helena Career Training Institute is celebrating their 30th anniversary with an open house. Through all their programs – from career assessments, to financial literacy education, to computer skills training – CTI’s main goal is to help people find jobs, said executive director Jaysn Harrington.

When CTI opened 30 years ago, its primary focus was helping displaced housewives get back into the workplace. Today that program still exists, but it is coupled with a wide cadre of programs that help men and women from the age of 14 on up get the training and education they need to find a job that suits them.

The goal isn’t to provide people with a handout, Harrington said. It’s is to allow them the opportunity and give them the skills to work to improve their job status.

The Helena area is lucky to have CTI and their longevity is a testament to the importance of their mission.

CTI serves, on average, between 200 and 300 people a month. These people could be single mothers looking to better their career and bring in a little more money for their family. Or they could be high school dropouts who just figured out that getting a long in life is going to take some work and more education. Or they could be a professional who was recently laid off and needs to get retrained for a new line of work. They all can get the assistance they need at CTI.

CTI is a nonprofit organization with a budget of about $1.9 million. Its funding comes through a wide variety of state and federal programs aimed at helping people find work. A person who comes to CTI will get assigned a case manager, who will take them through a system of learning about what is keeping them from getting a job and then matching them up with the appropriate programs and tools to get them employed, Harrington said.

The CTI case management system is really the strength of the organization, she said. People get focused help tailored specifically to what their needs are.

The people who come through CTI’s doors are not simply the poor or disadvantaged. The fact is that over the past few years, people from many industries and walks of life have found themselves unprepared for being in the job market. And often a change of career is necessary. CTI can help with focused training and developing tools to help people through that process.

Most recently, Harrington has seen an increase in clients who have been laid off and are looking for new jobs, as well as young adults with no education beyond high school who are struggling to find work.

The benefit to the community is that CTI provides a resource to help keep people out of the job line and in the work force. But beyond that, CTI turns out quality employees that bring value to businesses around the Helena area. Many of the programs they offer are done in conjunction with local businesses, giving participating employers an opportunity to help train employees that could be part of their company in the future.

Part of a healthy local economy is a place like CTI where people can get help to find a new job or people with jobs can go for training to help round out their skills and advance in their careers.

And it’s the community support that ultimately has made CTI a 30-year success, Harrington said.

“I think the community has been very supportive,” she said. “They’re receptive to giving the people we serve a chance.”

CTI’s open house will be this afternoon from 4 to 6:30 p.m. at its office on 347 North Last Chance Gulch.

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