Montana receives $1.3M to help expand apprenticeship programs

Governor Bullock announced $1.3 million funding for Montana businesses to expand apprenticeship programs on Thursday morning.

Collision Pro Owner Barry Reddick told MTN News that his company has been using the apprenticeship program since 1997.

“The program’s helped out business bringing up people from an apprenticeship to a journey level position. It’s helped us, and it’s helped them,” said Reddick.

The program is available for about 60 occupations across the state and there are more than 700 business sponsors taking part.

Reddick said a lot of times young people try to get their foot in the door with no experience and that the apprenticeship program is a way to help them out.

“It makes it a lot simple for me as a businessman to have an apprenticeship program, running in my business,” said Reddick.

The Montana registered apprenticeship program is an employer-designed, earn-while-you-learn system that consists of classroom and on-the-job education.

The U.S. Department of Labor granted the $1.3 million state expansion through the Montana Department of Labor & Industry.

“Both in the time that it take to acquire the journey level status, and pay that goes with it, and the apprenticeship, you get to make money while you’re learning instead of paying money for college,” said Reddick.

Mike Waldenberg is the president of Central Plumbing & Heating based in Great Falls and Bozeman.

He has now been training apprentices for over 20 years.

“Bringing people up into the trade is a significant need in our community I guess, in our community that we live in and the apprentices that become journey level and management of our company. So it’s been a huge benefit to our business,” said Waldenberg.

Waldenberg said training people in his construction business is his passion.

Montana apprentices receive a nationally recognized industry credential upon completion of the program.