Montana Apprenticeship and Training Program

Posted by John Griffin - On October 17, 2011 (EST)

Montana Apprenticeship and Training Program

Activities Report

July – 2011


Since the beginning of calendar year 2011, the Apprenticeship and Training Program has been engaged with the following activities:

In December of 2010, the Program through the Montana Administrative Rule process adopted the revised federal requirements for apprenticeship registration and administration of State Apprenticeship Registration agencies.  In order to maintain our important federal recognition, it was imperative that the Montana Apprenticeship and Training Program adopt the new federal regulations (Title 29.CFR 29).  The Montana Administrative Rules that provides for the adoption of 29.29,became effective as of December 24th, 2010, which basically predicates that all new apprentices registered after 12/24/10, would have to be under apprenticeship agreements and standards that reflect the new regulations.

From January of 2011 to present time, Apprenticeship and Training Program staff have spent large amount of time resources in converting over 500 independent employer/sponsor apprenticeship standards and over 35 JATC program standards to meet the requirements of the new regulations.   The independent standards did not take a lot of resources since “one boiler-plate” basically fits all.  JATC’s are jointly managed labor and management training committees that represent union sponsored apprenticeship programs.  The conversion of the JATC standards took more time due to the complex nature of the standards which includes committee authority, multiple occupations and collective bargaining agreement language.  In the case of the independent employer, Program staff is changing those standards on site as the employer request a new apprentice.  The JATC standards have to be reviewed by a committee and some cases their legal representation, which often required Program staff to attend JATC meetings and provide interpretation regarding the changes in the regulations.  As of June 1, 2011, the majority of the JATC standards have been converted and the independent conversation is taking place as we receive requests for new apprentices by those sponsors.  

The Program did apply for and receive a $100,000.00 implementation grant provided by the Federal Office of Apprenticeship, US/Department of Labor to offset the cost for the legal and implementation process involved for the adoption of the new required federal regulations.  As of May 1, 2011 with most of the conversion completed, the Program had close 50% of the implementation grant remaining.  US/DOL suggested that the Program utilize as much of the remaining funds as possible for the promotion and expansion of registered apprenticeship in Montana.  With the available funding, the Program has secured radio advertisements that are currently running in Central and Eastern Montana, two billboards, located in Glendive and Billings, two new brochures, a new display booth for career days and job fairs and is finalizing two professionally produced DVD’s that promote registered apprenticeship to both the employer and potential apprentice candidate.   The majority of the promotional projects are aimed at employers, with the material outlining the benefits of registered apprenticeship. 


In May of 2008, the Apprenticeship and Training Program based on the recommendation of the State Workforce Investment Board received $44,000.00 in Governor set aside ARRA funds to develop in partnership with MSU-Northern a  “green energy” curriculum that could be utilized by both apprentices and journeymen in the construction related occupations. 


MSU-Northern patterned the green curriculum after the nationally recognized LEED Version Three green energy education.  The courses are designed to increase an awareness of the demands on our environment and methods to reduce our impact on planet earth.  The course work is self directed for individualized pace of completion and are designed to make the skilled worker aware of his/her role in making the building industry a leader in energy conservation.


There are ten courses in the curriculum.  The first five courses provide an overview of green construction practices ranging from weatherization to alternate energy sources such wind and solar.  The first five courses could be used by anyone that is interested in reduction in energy losses and what makes a building green.  The last five courses are considerably more technical and would be recommended for third or fourth year apprentices in the mechanical trades or for journeymen upgrade.  These   courses focus on the more technical side of designing and installing energy efficient heating and cooling systems, the cost of load management in electrical energy conservation and ways to reduce vibration in pumps, blowers and compressors. 


The courses are offered through an online application, with the average time to complete courses is between 10 and 25 hours of study.  The cost ranges from $110 to $150 per course.  Students must score at least 70% in courses to successfully complete the program and the exams are taken online.  The courses are voluntary for registered apprentices and at this point in time do not replace existing apprenticeship educational requirements.  Any apprentice completing the full curriculum will receive an additional “Green Energy Trained” seal on their certificate of completion. 


Starting in the fall of 2010, the Apprenticeship and Training Program in conjunction with MSU-Northern offered the course work to a select group of apprentices and employers at no cost to test drive the system and allow MSU-N to gather feedback in what needed to be improved on.   The green curriculum has been re-worked for ease of the user and is now available.


Out of the $44,000.00 allowed for the development and implementation of the green curriculum, MSU-N spent very close to their allowable amount of $40,000 in development cost and the Apprenticeship and Training Program has utilized close to 80% of the allowable $4,000 administrative cost.  The primary use of the administrative funds were used for time in promotion of the curriculum and the development of a informational brochure that can be used to promote the curriculum. 





In the fall of 2010, The Montana Apprenticeship and Training Program in cooperation with Passages Pre-release corrections facility established a pre-apprenticeship training program in Culinary Arts, which basically includes the planning, purchasing, baking, cooking and serving elements of the culinary industry.  The program participants are female felons that have qualified for the training program and are in a near parole period status.  The training program includes over 2,000 hours of on the job training mentored by three certified chefs and 300 hours of related instruction directly related to the occupation.  

The Pre-Release Program was lacking recognition and certification and contacted the registration agency for direction.  Upon on-site evaluation of the training program, the Apprenticeship and Training Program discovered that all of the elements existed for pre-apprenticeship.  The Montana registration agency developed first of its kind Pre-Apprenticeship Training Standards, a pre-apprenticeship agreement and a certificate, which will now be used for all interested pre-programs.  This structure was developed to ensure a smooth transition in credit and that industry practices in related instruction and on job training are being used.  

The Pre-release program has graduated five participants all who have obtain work in the industry at mid-level positions.  The Apprenticeship and Training has also entered into a pre-apprenticeship agreement with a local community based job training organization that recently received a youth build grant.  The Program is anticipating 28 to 34 applicants that will enter the youth build pre-apprenticeship in carpentry.


Submitted to John Griffin by:

Mark S. Maki
Apprenticeship and Training Program
Montana Department of Labor & Industries
P.O. Box 1728
Helena, MT 59624-1728

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Modified On : October 17, 2011
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