Gov. Gianforte Proposes Rule Change to Increase Apprenticeship Opportunities
HELENA, Mont. – In honor of Apprenticeship Week, Governor Greg Gianforte today announced a proposed rule change to dramatically expand access to apprenticeships for Montana workers.
A registered apprenticeship is a paid, employer-designed, on-the-job training program that teaches specific job skills unique to the employer’s profession. Statewide, over 2,600 apprentices have been active in 85 different occupations this year.
“For too long, unnecessary red tape has tied up employers looking to offer apprenticeship opportunities and build a more highly-skilled workforce,” Gov. Gianforte said. “With this commonsense rule change, we can dramatically increase apprenticeship opportunities for hardworking Montanans to meet current and future workforce needs.”
Current rules generally require employers to dedicate two skilled journeymen to the supervision of a single apprentice. The proposed rule change would revise the current required ratio to allow one journeyman to supervise two apprentices, drastically increasing an employer’s ability to offer apprenticeships.
While preserving workplace safety and training standards, the proposed rule change would also make Montana more competitive with our neighbors. Wyoming allows 2 apprentices to 1 journeyman, North Dakota allows 3 apprentices to 1 journeyman, and Idaho allows up to 4 apprentices to 1 journeyman.
"We've long heard from employers that these ratio rules were standing in the way of offering the opportunity of apprenticeship to more Montanans," said Commissioner Esau. "The proposed rule changes bring Montana's standards more into alignment with neighboring states and will ease the burden on our employers feeling the strain of our workforce shortage."
The governor also stressed the timeliness of the proposed rule change given the need for more housing in the state as well as recent investments to deploy broadband across Montana.
The proposed rule changes are currently pending the outcome of the public comment period and could be adopted as soon as next month.