Montana workforce grants give workers ‘greater skills, higher wages’

Montana workforce grants give workers ‘greater skills, higher wages’

November 29, 2021 0 By Bob Pepalis

A $10 million grant program funding skills-based training for employees in Montana should result in better pay and make workers more attractive to employers, state officials say.

Gov. Greg Gianforte and the Montana Department of Commerce launched the Workforce Training Grant Program in October to fund training for new and existing employees of nonprofits and for-profit companies.

“The workers will be able to get advanced training which translates to greater skills, higher wages, greater value to the business and more marketable to other companies,” Wayne Johnston, business assistance bureau chief for the Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development, told The Center Square.

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Workforce Training Grant Program provided the grant funds for the program.

Officials hope the program will help the state’s workforce shortage problem.

“As the employees develop additional skills, they typically become more efficient and require less supervision. By providing these training funds to the business, it can help to offset the costs of attracting new employees from other areas including out of state,” Johnston said.

Up to $3,000 per eligible employee can be received by an eligible business with a maximum of $210,000 received. Employees in the program must make at least 170% of Montana’s minimum wage, which is $14.88 per hour.

Adding new positions to expand the workforce may net the business $500 for each position that meets certain hiring criteria, such as hiring a disabled veteran or person, a Native American, or an individual recently released from a corrections facility. A new job paying at least $51,000 per year or $24.52 per hour also meets the criteria.

“By investing in the development of higher skills in Montana’s workforce we help to strengthen the overall economy. Workers with greater levels of skill typically earn higher wages and the businesses see a greater return on their workforce investment,” he said.

Businesses must show that the program resulted in an increase in revenue, capacity and/or production/manufacturing. Applications and guidelines are available online.

This article was originally posted on Montana workforce grants give workers ‘greater skills, higher wages’