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Butte nonprofit Career Futures to close after 40 years of putting people to work in Montana

The closure comes on the heels of a decision by Montana DPHHS to switch to a for-profit, out-of-state organization to manage TANF and SNAP programs in the state.
Career Futures plans to close in
Posted at 2:02 PM, Apr 03, 2024

BUTTE — After months of uncertainty, the staff at Career Futures in Uptown Butte learned the nonprofit will dissolve in June after helping to put people to work and set people on career paths in Butte and in southwest Montana for the past 40 years.

"We do wonderful work in the six counties that we serve in southwest Montana, and this is an incredibly sad moment that this work is not going to be completed," says Sarah DeMoney, executive director of Career Futures Inc.

DeMoney says the company will end service to clients in the middle of May and dissolve in June following a decision by the Montana Department of Health and Human Services to switch to Maximus—a for-profit, out-of-state organization—to handle requirements for those receiving public assistance for TANF and SNAP programs.

"We were able to help hundreds of people in the last couple of years get through college, make through training...Southwest Montana’s workforce development has been growing and now we’re out of that and it is incredibly sad for us," says DeMoney.

DeMoney says Career Futures' in-person, hands-on business model approach simply did not fit with the state’s new model that will only offer in-person services to places deemed urban.

The new model will focus on online servicing which has drawn criticism from DeMoney and several state leaders who wonder how people in rural areas with notoriously bad internet access will fare with the new system. DeMoney and her employees also worry that the new model puts profits over people.

"With a nonprofit, we are not out to make money. It’s all about, you know, what our clients need and we want them to survive and thrive and meet their goals," says Heather Carlson, the fiscal officer at Career Futures.

Carlson has a long background in working with for-profit organizations prior to joining the nonprofit Career Futures Inc. She worries about current clients being treated as numbers.

"You know, our clients, they’re just like you and me. They’re not a client number to us and I guess I’m just hoping it is a smooth transition for them and that they’re treated as a client and not just a client number," says Carlson.