Operation Next Montana

The Next Frontier Advanced Manufacturing Institute (NFAMI) is proud to partner with LIFT, a national manufacturing institute, and Highlands College in Butte, MT, to bring the federally funded Operation Next program to Montana. The Operation Next curriculum will help create a strong Montana base for a forward-thinking, manufacturing-oriented, educational program that has already be proven successful in other states. NFAMI recognizes that rewarding experiences come from serving the armed forces. NFAMI seeks to support our state’s past and present servicemen and women through the opportunity to gain high-value skills, while boosting the pipeline of critically needed workers for increasingly higher-tech manufacturing jobs in Montana. The curriculum will train our nation’s servicemen and women in high value CNC manufacturing and welding skills so they can obtain high paying, critical support jobs. Credentials obtained are nationally recognized and portable from either the National Institute of Metalworking Skills (NIMS) or the American Welding Society (AWS).

We express special appreciation to our partners LIFT and the Highlands College team. Thank you also to Accelerate Montana for supporting these efforts at Highlands college.

Course Information:

Courses for Welding and CNC start on January 9th, 2023. We are also seeking interested individuals to sign up now for future courses. Future course dates are not yet finalized but we are hoping to start another course in August, 2023. Signing up now on our future courses list helps show our financial need to our partners. We will keep everyone on our future courses list updated on subsequent opportunities.

We (NFAMI, Operation Next Montana, and LIFT) are working to connect students to employers, internships, apprenticeships, etc. at the completion of the course. Also, Highlands will speak with students about continuing education if they are interested.

Student Signup 

Student Enrollment
Active Duty
Lodging Required?


Program Sponsored By

Highlands College is home to all Montana Tech career-ready and transfer programs that help build the workforce we need to better lives in Butte and Montana.

From certificates and associate degrees to community education and customized training, Highlands offers you today’s relevant hands-on professional programs leading to tomorrow’s important jobs. We continue to pursue industry-specific partnerships locally, giving you even more opportunities for employment.

LIFT, operated by the American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute (ALMMII), is a public-private partnership between the U.S. Department of Defense, industry and academia, part of the national network of manufacturing innovation institutes, driving the U.S. mobility sector toward the future manufacturing revolution to support our nation’s economy and enhance our national security.

Accelerate Montana offers a broad range of programs to benefit businesses and individuals alike – regardless of where you live or work in Montana. In order to meet our mission of accelerating economic potential, we have assembled teams who can support, guide, and consult with you on your business or help guide you in your career.