Baucus, Tester: New opportunities coming for Montana’s timber workers

Grant will help Montanans laid off from the timber industry

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Montana Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester today hailed a $1.8 million grant to help workers associated with the wood products industry hit by the economic downturn.  The grant will provide career training and support services over a two-year period for western Montana communities that experienced significant job losses after the closures of facilities owned by Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation, Plum Creek Timber Company and other firms.

“This grant will be a lasting opportunity for Montanans to get the help they need to find good paying jobs here at home,” said Senator Max Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.  “The closure of the Smurfit-Stone mill and layoffs at other mills were devastating for Montana, and you can bet I’ll keep working to ensure folks in our state are on the path toward economic recovery and growth.” 

“For the folks whose livelihoods depended on Montana’s wood products industry, this is a step to help them and their families get back on their feet,” said Tester, who noted 1,700 Montanans lost jobs in the industry in 2009.  “Through Montana-made plans like the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act, I’ll keep fighting to create jobs for Montanans, while getting these folks the training they need so they can get back to work.”

In April, Baucus and Tester sent a joint letter of support for Montana’s grant application.  The grant will be distributed among communities in Lincoln, Flathead, Sanders, Lake, Mineral, Missoula, and Ravalli Counties, and will cater to the needs of workers in each community. Local employment bureaus will work with participants to provide a range of services including short-term training and education, employment plan development and case management.

Baucus and Tester worked to create a revolving loan fund to help keep afloat Montana’s timber industry.

The Department of Labor has distributed more than 20 National Emergency Grants since September 2009 to provide states funding to cope with significant unexpected job losses.  For more information, visit