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Date: Mon, Sep 28th, 2020

Tammie Hickey named interim director of Great Falls College's Lifelong Learning Center

Tammie Hickey has been named the interim director of Great Falls College MSU's Lifelong Learning Center. She will continue as program coordinator for Great Falls Public Schools' Career and College Readiness Center on Great Falls College's campus.

GREAT FALLS, Mont. – Tammie Hickey is a human whirlwind, all laughs, energy, fun and hard work.

That whirlwind is about to spin a little faster.

Hickey, who has been the program coordinator of Great Falls Public Schools' Career and College Readiness Center on Great Falls College MSU's campus, is taking over as interim director of the college's Lifelong Learning Center in addition to retaining her duties with GFPS.

She could not be more excited as she sees the new role as very similar to her present job with the Career and College Readiness Center because both work with adult learners, partner with businesses, and connect the community to education.

"It's a collaborative approach that not only saves taxpayers money but provides an opportunity to combine two programs with closely aligned missions," Hickey said. "Adult Education and Lifelong Learning, it just makes sense."

So does the appointment of Hickey, said Dr. Susan J. Wolff, CEO/dean of Great Falls College, after Heather Palermo left the position earlier this month.

"We are so eager to see what Tammie does with this role," Wolff said. "Heather did such a wonderful job invigorating Lifelong Learning and strengthening it with business partners such as ADF International and Dick Anderson Construction, and Tammie will bring that same passion and vision and experience."

Hickey had extensive experience working for both private businesses and nonprofits before landing a job with Great Falls Public Schools in 2010 with what is now called the Great Falls Career and College Readiness Center. Hickey has been the program coordinator since 2012. Helping adults on their path to higher education, short-term training, apprenticeships, citizenship and passing the high school equivalency exam are just a few things the center offers.

One program, Connections 101, Hickey is particularly proud of is a partnership with Great Falls Public Schools, Great Falls College and the Department of Labor and Industry. It includes career exploration, skill building in math and writing, introduction to computers, work ethics, study skills, OSHA certification, and a precollege course or work-based learning opportunity. At the completion of Connections 101, students have an opportunity to receive six college credits for free under Great Falls College's prior learning assessment policy to help students transition to their next step.

"Our program really is a hidden secret that is another commonality between the Career and College Readiness Center and the college's Lifelong Learning program," Hickey said.

That emphasis on adult education will be a huge asset in her role at Lifelong Learning with its emphasis on continued education.

Hickey received her associate's degree from Great Falls College when she returned to school as a nontraditional student. She continued to obtain her bachelor's degree from Montana State-Billings and her master's degree in adult learning from Park University. Wolff considers her familiarity as a nontraditional student invaluable when working with adults of all ages.

"Tammie's experience as a nontraditional student certainly helps her relate, and she is proof positive that you can go back to school and not just survive but flourish," Wolff said.

The Career and College Readiness Center works with many community organizations and frequently partners with businesses for job placement or short-term training and apprenticeship opportunities in various fields such as healthcare, trades and service industries.

Those skills will be necessary when reaching out on behalf of Lifelong Learning to businesses such as Dick Anderson Construction as Lifelong Learning offers workforce development opportunities for employees.

"Tammie has the business acumen combined with natural ability to relate to anyone from the boardroom to the warehouse that makes her the perfect fit for the job," Wolff said.

"I am passionate about our community, about learning, and love assisting individuals and businesses with their goals," Hickey said. "A favorite saying of mine is 'Learning is a process that leads to change.' This applies to every realm of the Career and College Readiness Center as well as the college's Lifelong Learning Program."

While Hickey's focus for the past decade has been on adult education, she is also excited about the summer children's programs and has some ideas about how to continue Palermo's improvements to this area of the Lifelong Learning program.

Hickey, whose first day is Monday, Sept. 28, says she looks forward to developing and leading this new collaborative venture.

Contact:

Scott Thompson, Great Falls College marketing and communications director, 406-771-4314, scott.thompson@gfcmsu.edu


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