Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney Celebrates National Apprenticeship Week, Awards Outstanding Business Sponsors

  • — November 13 2019

HELENA – Lt. Governor Mike Cooney today recognized exceptional apprenticeship sponsors for their investment in Montana’s workforce as part of National Registered Apprenticeship Week.

“Today’s award recipients show the success Montana businesses have when they invest in a skilled workforce,” Lt. Governor Cooney said. “Apprenticeships provide Montanans with an opportunity to expand into new and diverse occupations, while earning a paycheck and gaining the skills employers need to grow their business,”

Awards were presented to winners in three categories – 2019 Montana Apprenticeship Sponsor of the Year, 2019 Montana Apprenticeship Employer of the Year, and 2019 Emerging Apprenticeship Industry Excellence Award.

“The Montana Registered Apprenticeship Program continues to provide Montanans the skills they need to join high-paying and meaningful careers,” DLI Commissioner Galen Hollenbaugh said. “As we continue to reach out to new sponsors in a variety of fields beyond the trades, we’re building tomorrow’s workforce today.”

About the winners

Tri-County Mechanical & Electrical, based out of Helena, was presented with the 2019 Montana Apprenticeship Employer of the Year award.

“This apprenticeship program means everything to our company. It’s the future of our business,” said Matt Lane, President/CEO of Tri-County Mechanical & Electrical. “We’d like to encourage young people to look into the trades. They are always going to be well-paying, in-demand occupations in Montana.”

The company has offered apprenticeships for over 30 years and currently has 24 registered apprentices in three different occupations located in Havre, Butte, Bozeman, Helena, Great Falls and Wyoming.

“I started out as an apprentice and now I’m the president of a successful company that I own with my wife,” Lane said. “Now my son is an apprentice. The apprenticeship program was there for me when I needed to be trained and I’m excited to pass that along to the next generation.”

Montana Sheet Metal Workers Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee (JATC) was recognized as the 2019 Apprenticeship Sponsor of the Year

The Montana State JATC currently has 48 apprentices in the Montana Registered Apprenticeship Program, the largest group in the history of the JATC. The program has an apprentice completion rate of nearly 90% and was awarded platinum level accreditation from the International Training Institute’s Audit Committee.

The Montana Health Network (MHN) received the Emerging Apprenticeship Industry Excellence Award. With apprentices in eight different occupations, including Emergency Medical Technician, Medical Assistant, Nursing Assistant Specialties, Limited Permit X-Ray Technician, Phlebotomist, and Medication Aide II, MHN has set a standard for healthcare apprenticeships across Montana. The organization has registered 159 apprentices since August 2017.

The Montana Registered Apprenticeship program is currently working to foster new partnerships to expand and diversify into new occupation fields, including healthcare. The healthcare field is projected to continue growing in Montana. Nursing assistants are the second-highest apprenticeable occupation with the most projected job openings, with 850 total annual job openings, according to Montana DLI Employment Projections from 2018 through 2028.

The inaugural awards acknowledge and reward the exceptional work of Montana Registered Apprenticeship Program sponsors across the state. The number of sponsors continues to grow as Montana businesses respond to the increasing demand for workers. Sponsorship has grown by approximately nine percent each year over the last three years.

The Montana Registered Apprenticeship Program is an excellent training model that assists employers in building a highly customizable, skilled and loyal workforce to meet their business needs. In Montana, 90% of apprentices remain in the state upon completion. In turn, apprentices immediately start working and earn a paycheck while completing the required training and instruction. Upon completion, apprentices receive an industry-recognized credential that ensures future employers know the apprentice is qualified. In Montana, apprentices who complete their program earn an average of over $63,000 annually, $20,000 higher than the statewide average wage.

For more information on the Montana Registered Apprenticeship Program, visit

Contact Sam Loveridge: Public Information Officer, Department of Labor and Industry
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