GREAT FALLS — November 15-21 is National Apprenticeship Week, and dozens of high school students in Great Falls got one step closer Wednesday to a future job in the construction industry.
Forty students signed up for the carpentry pre-apprentice program. According to a news release from the school district:
The curriculum was designed in collaboration with Montana Department of Labor and the construction industry to ensure that students have the skills necessary to meet industry standards and is integrated directly into their existing curriculum and structure. Quality programs like this address the skilled labor shortage that is jeopardizing economic expansion in Montana.
The signing ceremony took place inside the "high school house" that students are helping build.
"I've worked on this house. It's a good job. It's really fun. It's great now that I have an apprenticeship. I didn't even plan on getting that this year, I just planned on building a house,” said junior AJ Mese.
"It means a lot just for the community to all come together and celebrate everything that we're doing,” said senior Tristen Ecklund.
The pre-apprentice program is designed to prepare students for a registered apprentice program and eventually a career.
In honor of National Apprenticeship Week, Governor Greg Gianforte announced Wednesday he has proposed changing the state’s apprenticeship rules.
The current rule says employers generally must have two journeymen supervising each apprentice.
Gianforte has proposed allowing one journeyman to supervise two apprentices.
The governor said in a news release: “For too long, unnecessary red tape has tied up employers looking to offer apprenticeship opportunities and build a more highly-skilled workforce.”
The news release also says the change will expand access to apprenticeships and make Montana more competitive with neighboring states. The change could be approved as soon as December once the public comment period ends.