Gov. Gianforte, Commerce Announce $10 Million for New Workforce Training Program
HELENA,MT (STL.News) Governor Greg Gianforte and the Montana Department of Commerce have launched the Workforce Training Grant Program to provide $10 million to Montana non-profit and for-profit businesses for skill-based training of new and existing employees.
“These grants will build a stronger Montana workforce and empower Montana workers with the skills they need to succeed and thrive,” Gov. Gianforte said. “These grants will help us to close skill gaps, create more good-paying Montana jobs, and expand career opportunities for more Montanans.”
Commerce Director Scott Osterman added, “These workforce grants will help Montana businesses provide skill-based training for their employees while creating more good-paying jobs and future economic growth for our communities around the state.”
Eligible businesses may apply directly to the program and can receive up to $3,000 per eligible employee, with a maximum allocation of $210,000. Each eligible employee must make a wage that meets or exceeds 170 percent of Montana’s current minimum wage, which today is $14.88 per hour.
For businesses expanding their workforce, the program will provide a $500 incentive for each net new position that meets one or more of the following hiring criteria:
- A qualified disabled person; and/or
- Disabled veteran; and/or
- Native American (must provide tribal identification); and/or
- Post-correctional facility release/pre-release center participant; and/or
- Creates a new job that pays at least $51,000 per year or $24.52 per hour.
The incentive would be above training funding for an eligible activity and paid out at the end of the contract period. The business must be able to prove that the new hire qualified under the above criteria and has received training.
The Workforce Training Grant Program builds upon Gov. Gianforte’s success in expanding workforce development, a central element of his Montana Comeback Plan.
In April 2021, Gov. Gianforte signed into law the Montana Trades Education Credit, or M-TEC. M-TEC provides $1 million per year in 50-percent credits to businesses for their employees to learn a trade. M-TEC will support as many as 1,000 scholarships annually. Under the program, employers and employees can decide on training that is best for the business and the employee. Representative Llew Jones (R-Conrad) sponsored House Bill 252, which creates M-TEC.