DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

Economic Transformation and Stabilization and Workforce Development Programs and Advisory Commission

The Montana 67 th Legislature passed House Bill 632 which allows funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to be used for economic transformation, stabilization and workforce development. HB632 created a Commission to oversee programs that are developed, and proposals that are reviewed and recommended by the Department of Commerce.

The Commission meets regularly and its members include Governor Gianforte's Budget Director Ryan Osmundson, Governor's Chief of Staff Chris Heggem, Labor Commissioner Laurie Esau, Senate President Mark Blasdel, Senator Ryan Lynch, Speaker of the House Wylie Galt, Representative Llew Jones, and Representative Kim Abbott. Commission meeting information and future meeting dates can be found here. Commerce is tasked with staffing the Commission.

The Commission's first grant was of $15 million to the Department of Labor & Industry, for the creation of a return-to-work bonus program that will help address a critical labor shortage stemming, in part, from the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information on the Return to Work Bonus program, click here

Programs developed by the Department of Commerce and approved by the Commission may include grant and other programs for businesses, workforce development, and employee training. By law, the proposals recommended for funding by Commerce must be reviewed by the Commission, which will then recommend grants to the Governor.

Commerce, Labor & Industry and other agencies are in the process of developing recommended grant programs that will be submitted to the Commission for approval. Once programs are approved by the Commission, these agencies will provide more information on the grants available and process for applying and awarding the grants.

Please check this website often for updates, open applications, and deadlines.

The Agriculture Infrastructure Grant Program is now accepting concept papers for value-added agriculture projects to advance Montana’s agricultural industry. Grants will assist with the development of innovative agricultural business improvements to keep pace with a transforming agricultural industry, create new jobs, and expand business opportunities across the state.

Total funds available for grant awards are $7.5 million.

Visit agr.mt.gov/ARPAGrants to view application guidelines and apply. Concept papers are due by 5:00 PM MST on December 15, 2021.

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Apprenticeship Training Grant Program is accepting applications and provides funds to eligible Apprenticeship Training Providers that provide construction related apprenticeship training. Apprenticeship Training Providers may apply for up to $3,000 per net new enrolled apprentice within the next 12 months. Funding for this program is part of the $10 million allocated by the Montana Economic Transformation, Stabilization & Workforce Development Advisory Commission to The Montana Department of Commerce (Department) as part of the Workforce Training Grant Program. Program and applications guides are available here. After accessing the application page, applicants will need to first register as a user by clicking on the "Submit" button on that page. If you have questions, please visit the Contact Us page. 

Questions about a Grant Application? Send us an email here. You will need to use the "Citizen Login" button. 

The Governor's Health Care Workforce Recruitment Program is now accepting applications. This program is intended to help address increasing demand for services by providing relocation reimbursements as an incentive to recruit skilled health care professionals to Montana. Health care businesses can visit the application page to begin the process.

Total funds available for this program are $4 million. Awards will be made on a first come, first served basis. The policy detailing program rules can be found here.

If you have additional questions, please submit them to: dlihcwr@mt.gov.

This Program administered by the Department of Labor and Industry will augment current DPHHS-Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) counseling staff by temporarily adding 10 qualified full-time Rehabilitation Counselors. This will allow VR to invite approximately 1,000 additional individuals with disabilities in for services that intend to lead to employment over the next biennium. There are approximately 1,300 individuals with disabilities currently waiting for such an invitation, the primary barrier being funding to support staff to offer engagement and assistance. Individuals with disabilities are prioritized via ARPA as an underserved and underrepresented group in the current labor force. $2 million in ARPA funds will be used to hire staff and expand service capacity, thereby engaging more individuals and ultimately fill more jobs with skilled workers. More information will be available here, soon.
HB 632 directs $10M for Rapid Retraining efforts. These funds propose to enroll more people in workforce training programs and expand industry-driven accelerated workforce training courses. The Rapid Retraining will also be administered by the Department of Labor and Industry.

$4M will be distributed to existing state workforce program operators (WIOA Adult, TANF Pathways, SNAP E&T). The other $6M will be used to identify and create up to 10 industry-driven and MUS-partner-delivered short-term occupational trainings focused on jobs that pay or provide a pathway to at least $50,000/year.

Rapid retraining (short-term training) refers to that which can occur in three months or less.

Targeted and demand industries and occupations are those that have high labor or technical skill demands, that offer expanded career opportunities, that provide self-sustaining wages, and/or that were negatively impacted by the pandemic.

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Workforce Training Grant Program is accepting applications and provides up to $3,000 per eligible employee receiving training to reimburse businesses for costs associated with training new and existing full-time workers. The business should be able to demonstrate an increase in revenue, capacity and/or production/manufacturing as result of the training process. The Montana Economic Transformation, Stabilization & Workforce Development Advisory Commission allocated $10 million for the program, which is administered by the Department of Commerce. Program and applications guides are available here. After accessing the application page, applicants will need to first register as a user by clicking on the "Submit" button on that page.

Please see the ARPA Workforce Training Grant Frequently Asked Questions for answers to some of the most commonly asked questions. If your question is not answered here, please visit the Contact Us page. 

Questions about a Grant Application? Send us an email here. You will need to use the "Citizen Login" button. 

The Department of Commerce and the Department of Labor and Industry are currently setting up these new programs. More information for how to access these funds will be available here, soon.