A newly formed website connects Montanans to high tech and skilled manufacturing jobs across the state.

It's an effort to keep Montana's graduates in Montana.

The site, www.MTHighTech.org/jobs, allows people to search jobs by location or description. The jobs are posted by the 90 members of the Montana High Tech Business Alliance.

The portal also helps Montana’s high-tech firms compete with the larger recruiting arms of out-of-state companies.

“The number one thing we hear from (alliance) members is they can’t find good qualified people and yet we’re exporting our kids, our students out of state,” said Greg Gianforte, an alliance board member and founder of RightNow Technologies. “The point of this portal is to connect the dots between the two.”

Gianforte said Montana firms don’t have the recruiting power of companies like Google and Microsoft, but the jobs available in state are just as good as those out of state and often just as lucrative.

“Out-of-state companies gobble up students before Montana companies get a chance at bat,” he said. “At the end of the day the students should pick the job that’s best for them, the best career move. But we think at a minimum we need to make them aware of opportunities that exist in the state.”

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Gianforte said alliance member companies banded together to become more visible to college students, recent graduates and people seeking ways to return to Montana.

“I think the reality is the high-tech community and manufacturers in Montana are essentially invisible,” he said. “They tend to be not on Main Street, but in business parks and they sell products and services to businesses outside Montana. They’re a huge potential economic engine for improving Montana. We want to create visibility for the members, help them grow and improve the average wage in the state.”

Christina Henderson, the alliance's executive director, said nearly 40 jobs are available on the website at this time.

Access to the website is free. Start-up companies with four or fewer employees can join the alliance for free as well.

Most of the current job and internship postings are in the Bozeman or Missoula areas, but the alliance anticipates more jobs opening throughout the state.

“This is a siren call for the Butte high-tech community to get signed up and get the benefit of this portal,” Gianforte said. “We want to help people in the state understand economic impact of high-tech and manufacturing and help those organizations grow.”

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