Montana Post-Secondary Workforce Report Highlights Opportunities for Montana Workers

  • — October 21 2022

HELENA –The Montana Department of Labor & Industry this week released the 2022 Post-Secondary Workforce Report, which evaluates how the state’s workforce training systems provide a skilled workforce able to meet the needs of Montana’s economy. The report, compiled by DLI’s Data & Operations Bureau in collaboration with the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education and other post-secondary education institutions, examines Montana’s post-secondary education pathways and whether students are graduating in fields that align with workforce demands.

Among other findings, the report highlights the potential of Registered Apprenticeships as a pathway to good-paying, sustainable careers. The report’s data indicate workers who complete an apprenticeship earn, on average, double the wages of a graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree. Ten years after completion, apprenticed workers still earn, on average, more than $14,000 per year than graduates with four year degrees.apprentice-graphic.png

Source: Montana Post-Secondary Workforce Report

Other highlights from the report include:

  • Four-year colleges recruit more students to Montana than the number who leave the state after graduation, making them a net importer of workers. About 60% of four-year college students are from Montana while 40% are from out-of-state.
  • Nearly 75% of graduates from Montana post-secondary institutions work in Montana at some point in the ten years following graduation. Approximately 69% work in Montana one year after graduation, with roughly 56% still working in the state after ten years.
  • The median income of graduates is $31,800 a year after graduation, with half earning somewhere between $20,000 and $47,000 in income. Graduates’ median incomes exceeded the statewide median in the first year after graduation and was roughly $54,000 ten years after graduation.
  • Registered nurses, dental hygienists, electricians, and plumbers have the best workforce outcomes among short-term degrees. Graduates from these programs reported average incomes above $55,000 one year after graduation and 90% or better retention in the Montana economy.
  • 62% of high-demand occupations are undersupplied. Many of these occupations are in education, healthcare and construction.
  • Large supply gaps in construction and transportation suggest there are insufficient workers to fill Montana jobs, particularly among occupations requiring less than a four year degree.
  • Workers who complete a Registered Apprenticeship have more than double the wage earnings of those earning an associate or bachelor’s degree after one year. Approximately 94% of apprenticeship completers work in Montana after graduation and earn an average wage of $63,500.

“This report proves what we’ve long known: apprenticeships are a tried-and-true pathway to success in a good-paying, in-demand career,” said Department of Labor & Industry Commissioner Laurie Esau. “The findings in this report will help educators and policy makers better understand where our post-secondary education providers are best meeting Montana’s needs, and where there is room to expand to ensure a robust Montana workforce for the future.”

View the Complete Report


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