Senators: Montana laborers to receive better training for new energy jobs

Montana organization will receive Recovery Act funding to strengthen state’s workforce

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – A Montana organization will be better equipped to train skilled laborers for new jobs in Montana’s emerging  renewable energy industry, thanks to a grant announced today by Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester.

The Montana Electrical Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (MEJATC) will receive $5 million from the U.S. Department of Labor in an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant.  The organization will use the funding to offer classes and purchase training equipment for electrical workers and other skilled laborers in Montana.

MEJATC state training director Gary Pemble said the grant is “a valuable investment in Montana’s workforce.”

“We have a tremendous need to update our training and close the skill gaps of our workers in order to meet the demands of the growing renewable energy industry,” Pemble said.  “This is good opportunity, and we appreciate our senators’ help in making this grant available to strengthen Montana’s workforce.”

Pemble noted that his organization plans outreach to all skilled laborers interested in new training opportunities.

The grant funding will help Montanans train for work on energy development projects such as the construction of the 214-mile Montana-Alberta Tie Line, which will allow wind power generated in Montana to be sold in Canada.

“Montana will see very good benefits from the opportunities created by this grant,” Baucus said.  “I’m pleased that it’s going to be invested in good-paying jobs and workforce development.  This will help put Montana at the forefront as we move forward with exciting new opportunities in renewable energy.”

“Montana’s renewable resources will play a key role in America’s energy future, and that will bring new jobs and opportunity to the entire state,” Tester said.  “Investing in Montanans by strengthening them with new skills is a smart use of resources as we prepare for the future.”