BUTTE – Governor Steve Bullock today visited the Plumbers and
Pipefitters Local Union #41 Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee to
discuss how apprenticeship has continued safely during the pandemic and how it
will be instrumental to the economy as the state recovers from impacts due to
“Apprenticeship played a key role in Montana’s workforce
development over the years and contributed to the strong foundation we built
during the last decade to weather economic impacts due to COVID-19. With
shining examples of resiliency and flexibility from programs like the Butte
Plumbers and Pipefitters, it is already clear apprenticeship will play an
instrumental role in our recovery,”
Governor Bullock said.
“Apprenticeship programs are designed to be customized and
flexible to meet the needs of our economy. When the pandemic hit, we were able
to transition to online instruction to ensure apprentices could continue with
their program. Those changes ultimately made it easier for apprentices across
the state to access our classes and removed barriers to participating such as
travel times and finding childcare,
” Quinton Queer, Training
Director at the JATC said.
and other workforce development programs have contributed significantly to
Montana’s record economic expansion over the last decade. Apprenticeship
programs provide college level instruction and allows apprentices to earn a
paycheck while they are completing their hands-on training. Registered
Apprenticeship Programs are available in over 1000 in-demand occupations
including in fields such as healthcare and childcare that are critical as the
state responds to COVID-19 and its impact on the economy.
also benefit from apprenticeship by having the ability to highly specialize the
training employees receive and prepare apprentices to successfully transition
to a permanent position after they complete their training. Governor Bullock
secured a tax credit for employers that bring on a new apprentice of up to $750
for each new registered apprentice and a $1,500 tax credit a new apprentice who
is a veteran.
are currently 2,018 active apprentices in the program and 812 employer sponsors,
and apprenticeship has remained steady and, in some areas, grown since the
start of the pandemic. Since January, 437 new apprentices have enrolled, and 32
new sponsors came on board. Some occupations have seen growth, with 245 new
construction apprentices enrolled since April, compared to 230 during the same
time last year. Despite changes due to COVID-19, 177 apprentices have completed
their training so far this year.
to the pandemic, the Plumbers and Pipefitters Joint Apprenticeship Training
Committee have shifted the required classroom instruction to an online model.
The shift has allowed apprentices to save time and travel expenses to complete
their instruction at home, instead of traveling to Butte. Many apprentices have
children and are single parents, and online instruction provides flexibility
for childcare and limits time away from home. Additionally, the Butte JATC
found online instruction attracted apprentices from more rural areas of the
state who have a sponsor in their community but would otherwise struggle to
spend extended time in Butte for classroom instruction. The shift has been so
successful the Butte JATC plans to permanently provide online classroom
the last six months have been challenging and the state has seen significant
impacts to the economy, Montana’s strong foundation built over the last decade
and proven programs such as apprenticeship will support the state’s recovery
over the long term. Governor Bullock shared early data on the impacts of the
virus in the 2020 Labor Day Report.
the last decade, Montana experienced the longest economic expansion in history
and the economy added nearly 50,000 payroll jobs. The state’s economy became
more diverse and robust, increasing real personal income, wages, and Montanans’
standard of living.
induced recession appears to be short, according to economists. Employment
levels have quickly rebounded, and Montana had the 16
th smallest job
loss among states. Jobs have been quick to return, with roughly 40,000
positions added in May and June, which marks the fastest two-month gain in
Montana history. Additionally, Montana was one of the first states in the
nation to reopen and maintain its healthy and safe workforce, which is
essential to the state’s long-term potential for economic growth. Economists
predict a stable recovery if Montana continues prioritizing the health and
safety of workers and maintains efforts to minimize spread of the virus.
The 2020 Labor Day
Report is available here: