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Senator Tester talks technology with Bozeman business leaders. He hears about the need for rural education improvement.

August 18, 2017View for printing

A group of high-tech business owners joined Montana Sen. Jon Tester on Thursday at the Bozeman Public Library to discuss how the state could continue to attract and retain high-paying jobs for the state.

The forum, Tester said, was to hear from the technology community about issues important to them. The senator sat alongside a panel of four business owners in the Gallatin County area and heard from each of them before taking questions from the audience.

"To the folks out there doing, I want to say thank you," he said.

Ali Knapp, president at Wisetail said the state should extend STEM - science, technology, engineering and mathematic programs - across the state to rural areas. Montana is really great at having the programs in Bozeman and Missoula, she said, but in rural areas these programs are lacking or don't exist.

Lance Trebesch, CEO of Ticket River in Harlowton, said that rural Montana is in decline. The company is the biggest employer in its county and aims to employ people from Harlowton, he said.

"But it's tough," Trebesch said. "And it's tough because the education. The schools in these rural places, and you know this very well, are not getting enough funding."

By Freddy Monares Chronicle Staff Writer

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