The Office of the Governor of the State of Montana

06/05/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/05/2024 14:45

Governor Gianforte Promotes Apprenticeship Opportunities to Meet Workforce Needs

Governor Gianforte Promotes Apprenticeship Opportunities to Meet Workforce Needs

Continues 56 County Tour in Teton County

Governor's Office
  • June 05 2024

BYNUM, Mont. - Governor Greg Gianforte today continued his fourth annual 56 county tour as governor in Teton County, visiting with 7-Electric apprentices at a jobsite in Bynum.

"Through apprenticeships, Montanans have more opportunities than ever before to acquire in-demand skills to thrive in a good-paying career," Gov. Gianforte said. "We are empowering Montana workers and ensuring employers have a highly skilled workforce."

Gov. Gianforte talking with a 7-Electric apprentice at a jobsite in Bynum

As one of more than 650 Montana businesses from across 100 industries partnered with the Montana Department of Labor & Industry's Registered Apprenticeship Program, 7-Electric employs four apprentices and several journeymen who receive paid, supervised, on-the-job training.

In 2022, a record number of new apprentices were added in Montana surpassing the number for 2018, 2019, and 2020 combined. Many of these were added following a rule change supported by the governor that went into effect that year.

While maintaining workplace safety and training standards, the revised rule changed the journeyman-to-apprentice ratio from 2:1 to 1:2. Now, one journeyman can supervise two apprentices.

Highlighting the importance of the rule change to meet workforce and industry needs, 7-Electric Owner Jim Dauwalder shared, "The change in ratio saved us. Before it, we couldn't keep up with demand for our services. We're blessed. If I could hire more guys, I would."

Visiting with journeymen and apprentices at a residence in Bynum where they are working to link a garage to a power line, the governor heard from the employees about the benefit of their apprenticeship.

"I've always been interested in wiring from experience working on cars, and the skills transferred over well. I plan to start school in the fall, but it's great to start logging my hours now," said Ezra, a first-year apprentice.

"We are always looking for journeymen. The great part about our work is that we are able to get local guys right out of high school to start working for us, go through the program and their schooling to become journeymen. And once you're a journeyman, the sky's the limit," Dauwalder added.

To meet employers' needs and encourage Montana businesses to enroll in the Registered Apprenticeship Program, the governor proposed and implemented the Montana Trades Education Credit (MTEC) in 2021. This credit offers employers credit for employee education and training. The governor nearly doubled MTEC in 2023.