HELENA, Mont. – Governor Steve Bullock, along with Montana Rail Link President Tom Walsh and Commissioner Pam Bucy today highlighted a new private-public partnership between Montana Rail Link and the Montana Registered Apprenticeship program at the Montana Department of Labor & Industry. This new partnership will help train more Montana workers, giving them the skills and tools they need to succeed in today’s job market.
“Apprenticeships have been used for generations in Montana and are a vital tool for creating a pipeline of highly trained workers,” said Governor Bullock. “Apprenticeships give Montanans the chance to earn a paycheck and support a family while learning the hard and soft skills needed to have a good-paying job and grow the economy.”
Montana Rail Link has been a long-time practitioner of apprenticeships, but recently began working with the Montana Registered Apprenticeship program directly administered by the Montana Department of Labor & Industry.
“For a long time, we’ve kept our signal and mechanical departments’ apprenticeship programs in-house,” said Walsh. “By working with the Montana Registered Apprenticeship program, we have been able to expand our reach to potential apprentices and raise the profile of this vital tool for our workforce.”
Apprenticeships in Montana have recently gained a higher profile as a valuable tool to train Montana’s workforce.
“Apprenticeships are critical in making sure Montana businesses of any size are filling their labor force with the talent they need,” said Commissioner Bucy. “With almost 700 apprenticeship sponsors providing training in over 50 occupations, we continue to see how important this model is for our state, especially once they receive their nationally recognized industry credentials.”
“Apprentice graduates in 2013 had an average annual wage of $53,500, nearly $16,000 more than the average wage paid to all Montana workers,” Bucy continued.
Walsh, who serves as Co-Chair of Governor Bullock’s Main Street Montana Project Transportation Key Industry Network, sees this collaboration as another successful outcome of the economic growth initiative.
“Our partnership with the State is another example of the success of the Main Street Montana Project,” he noted. “These types of collaborations show how the private and public sectors can move at the speed of business, together, and increase opportunities for job training across the state.”
The partnership with Montana Rail Link is a direct result of the Governor’s Main Street Montana Project, which focuses on “Training tomorrow’s workforce today.” The Project has brought together over 250 CEOs, business and community leaders from across Montana to identify opportunities for growth across a variety of industries in Montana.
Through the Project, the State of Montana has cut red tape and increased opportunities for Montana businesses; put more Montanans to work through job training and apprenticeship programs; increased the promotion of made-in-Montana products and businesses; and invested in research for the benefit of Montana residents, businesses, and industries.