New statewide website highlights earn-while-you-learn opportunities for young adults

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Posted at 10:40 AM, Apr 02, 2021

MISSOULA — Too often, we see young adults leaving the great state of Montana to work somewhere else in the region or the country, and when that happens, Montana’s workforce suffers.

Through a collaborative effort between the Missoula Chamber of Commerce and the Montana Department of Labor, Montana’s workforce is gaining some traction through a new website.

The idea for the site all started when local school counselors approached the Chamber of Commerce, asking for help in developing work-based learning opportunities with area businesses. This idea to “earn while you learn” benefits both the student exploring a particular industry and the employer who’s looking for skilled workers.

Missoula Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Kim Latrielle saw the opportunity to support school counselors while bolstering our state’s workforce. Without hesitation, her team stepped up to the plate and developed a website promoting these unique work opportunities.

Now, after three years of collaboration between the state and chambers of commerce across Montana, Workforce Connections has launched. On the site, you’ll find everything from training in tech to construction apprenticeships and opportunities to work in education.

Latrielle says as our workforce fluctuates and change it’s time to rethink how we keep Montanans working in Montana.

“The biggest message for businesses right now, is that you need to think differently when you post jobs, you need to create those career paths,” said Latrielle, adding that helping students pay for their education or training guarantees a stronger workforce.

Already, over 50 businesses with work opportunities for students have posted on the website. If you’re a business interested in developing this type of “earn while you learn” opportunity, you can contact your local chamber of commerce or visit the new site here.

Resources and information

The Rebound: Montana