Big Sky Economic Development News

Montana Workforce Grants & Initiative Programs

Nov 26, 2021

ARPA | Economic Transformation and Stabilization and Workforce Development Programs and Advisory Commission

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.

Access the full list of ARPA information here!


ARPA | Dashboard – Funds Distributed Through the State of Montana

Check it out HERE!


ARPA Workforce Training Grant

*Access grant portal here

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.


ARPA Rapid Retraining Program

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.


Montana Health Care Workforce Recruitment Initiative

*Access details here!

Montana is facing an acute workforce shortage across all sectors. Employers statewide have increased wages, enhanced benefits, and offered a myriad of incentives to retain existing employees and attract new hires but many still struggle to
fill critical positions. Although the number of Montanans receiving unemployment insurance benefits has dropped by more than 90% since Governor Gianforte took office and the state’s unemployment rate hit a 14-year low of 3.5% in August 2021, thousands of jobs remain unfilled.

Allocation Request and Deadlines: $4,000,000 to DLI to fund an employer-based incentive program that will reimburse up to $12,500, plus 35% of the total reimbursement amount to offset expected payroll taxes, on a one-time basis for the
actual qualifying moving and relocation expenses of eligible health care providers, as well as $350,000 to the Department of Commerce for marketing and targeted outreach costs associated with the program. Pursuant to federal guidance, grants would need to be obligated no later than 12/31/24 and spent no later than 12/31/26.

Funds will be redirected to this effort from the unspent portion of the allocation made to DLI for the Return-to-Work Bonus Program, recommended by the Commission and approved by the Governor in May 2021.

Structure: Employers must provide qualifying health services, medical treatment, nursing, rehabilitative, or preventive care to individuals and must employ health care providers – defined as a person who is licensed, certified, or otherwise authorized by the laws of Montana to provide health care in the ordinary course of business or practice of a profession – on a full or part-time (>20 hours per week) basis.

As part of its routine recruitment and hiring efforts, and upon identification of a qualifying health care provider willing to relocate to Montana and agree to full or part-time (>20 hours per week) employment, an employer would seek pre-approval from DLI, within program criteria, to offer reimbursement for actual qualifying moving and relocation expenses to the potential hire. Within one week following an employee’s start date, the employer would complete attestation of employment, provide details regarding actual qualifying moving and relocation expenses, and receive grant funds to allocate to the employee no later than one month following the start date. One year following the start date, employers would be required to prove the health care provider’s continuous employment.