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State Workforce Development Board

Montana State Workforce Investment Board
Leisa Smith, Director
1327 Lockey
Helena, MT 59624-1728
Phone: 406-444-1609
Fax: 406-444-3037

Key Workforce Priorities

  1. Strengthen the One Stop service delivery system statewide in every way necessary to meet the extraordinary demand for services during the economic downturn.
  2. Development of training for emerging technologies, industries and occupations through increased collaboration between the State’s workforce services system, apprenticeship training, and the post secondary education community.
  3. Provide career pathway information systems in the public schools that will engage the student in sound career and academic decisions, therefore increasing the chance of success in the workforce.

Fast Facts

  • Montana ranks 44th in population. As of 2009, Montana has an estimated population of 974,989 with a current 7.2 % unemployment rate. Montana is the 56th largest national state/province subdivision in the world. The fact that Montana, still considered a “frontier” state, has a small population scattered over an immense area provides some interesting challenges, especially in regards to accessibility to transportation, education, employment opportunities, broadband, and education/training.
  • Montana’s economy has outperformed the national economy during the 2007 recession, losing only 5.9% of state employment compared to 6.1% nationally. In terms of personal income, Montana only had two quarters of negative growth in the fourth quarter of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009. Montana had larger personal income growth than the U.S. throughout the recession.
  • According to the Bureau of Business and Economic Research, Montana’s basic industries include Federal Government (civilian), Transportation, Selected Manufacturing, Nonresident travel, Agriculture and related industries, Wood and Paper, Mining, and the Military. Agriculture is Montana's No. 1 industry, and changes are occurring that bring new opportunities and challenges for Montana producers and rural communities. Nearly three-fourths of cash receipts to Montana producers come from two sources, wheat and livestock, according to the latest state and county data from the Montana field office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service. These are solid agricultural sectors, and demand for the commodities is increasing worldwide.
  • Montana’s population ranks eighth oldest in the nation. According to Census estimates for July of 2007, 28.7% of Montana’s population was between the ages of 45 and 64. This is the fourth highest percentage for this age group in the nation. Within the next decade, Montana labor force is expected to begin declining; however, employment in Montana is projected to increase by over 52,000 jobs from 2008 to 2018.
  • Montana in 43rd place nationally for hourly wages paid, and its work week is ranked the shortest in the nation. With such a large percentage of our work force employed in industries that rely heavily on part-time employment, Montana’s average work week is quite low in comparison to the national average.

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