Career Transitions Faces Uncertain Future as Grant Funding is Eliminated

For many years, Career Transitions has been the contractor for Montana Pathways – Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF Pathways) for the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services for Gallatin and Madison Counties. In partnership with Easterseals-Goodwill Northern Rocky Mountain Inc., Career Transitions is also a service provider for the SNAP Employment and Training (SNAP E&T) program in Gallatin County.

Last Fall, we received notice that the Department of Public Health and Human Services was going to post a Request For Proposal (RFP) for the TANF Pathways and SNAP E&T Programs with a plan to move from 12 providers across the state to a single statewide provider to administer these services across Montana.  Career Transitions was not adequately equipped within our internal organization structure to take on a statewide program, thus eliminating us from applying.  The RFP was awarded to Maximus Federal Services in February 2024.

When we met with Maximus to express that Career Transitions is interested in subcontracting, they notified us that they already have a partner in Bozeman and the staff could apply for open positions that they have listed on their website if interested. It was clear that our needs did not align with their model.

This was a disheartening turn of events, and we are now grappling with the harsh reality of losing critical grant funding that has sustained our operations for years.

We are well connected within our community. We are able to get our clients the resources they need to overcome their barriers. We advocate and work for clients to enhance their quality of life, achieve economic stability, and act as accountability partners to support success. We believe that continued personal work with families is a vital investment for the entire community. We have many concerns about the new service delivery model that was chosen by DPHHS and fear that the clients will not get the personal, individualized services they need.  We will begin transitioning clients to Maximus on April 1st and our contract with DPHHS ends on June 30th.

Since Career Transitions is primarily funded by these grants, this decision is detrimental to our business and employees. Career Transitions has several other programs, including Career Coaching, Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) training, Class A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) training, CPR/First Aid training, High School Equivalency (HiSET) preparation, and the Gallatin Valley Farmers’ Market (GVFM). These have been vital programs for our community, and we have served thousands of customers, clients, vendors, students, and community members for over 40 years. However, funds and fees received for these programs do not cover the costs of the programs and our operations, so we must reassess our overall viability and are met with a difficult decision about trying to stay open for our community or closing our doors.

HOW TO HELP

As a nonprofit organization, Career Transitions will now have to shift our approach and begin fundraising within the community and focus on grant writing with potential funders – an avenue we have not had to take before. With the hundreds of nonprofits in the Gallatin Valley vying for the same donor funds that support so many great causes, we face uncertainty about our own success. However, we remain optimistic, relying on the strength and generosity of our community to help sustain us as we strive to make a difference.

Join us in our new endeavor to Build Brighter Futures as we aim to illuminate the path for those in need, offer hope and opportunity, and be a catalyst for change. With your generous support, we can pave the way for better tomorrows by providing essential resources, education, and mentorship to empower individuals, families, and communities to thrive. We are asking for support in the following areas:

CAREER COACHING: If you have experienced job-readiness and skills assistance or have a passion for assisting others in that area, consider donating to our Career Coaching program.

Class A Commercial Driver’s (CDL) License Training: If you have earned or are interested in getting your Class A CDL or you are a trucking company, construction company, agricultural farm, or other business who hire CDL drivers, consider donating to our CDL program to help cover costs of instructors, equipment, maintenance, fuel, and scholarships for students. 

High School Equivalency (HiSET): If you are a teacher, counselor, or individual who has had a significant change in your life due to your high school diploma and have a passion for supporting education, consider donating to our HiSET program to help cover costs of our staff and students.

Gallatin Valley Farmers’ Market: If you have ever attended a farmers’ market, been a vendor, have a passion for home-made or home-grown products, or have a connection with agriculture and food sources, or enjoyed the experiences of such events, consider donating to the Gallatin Valley Farmers’ Market to help cover costs of our space, our staff, musicians, food vendors, marketing, and equipment at the market.