Governor Gianforte visits Blackfoot Communications

Visit underscores focus on successful apprentice programs across the state

MISSOULA, Mont. — Blackfoot Communications was proud to welcome Montana Governor Gianforte to its Missoula campus during Apprenticeship Week to highlight the company’s successful apprenticeship program. With five apprentices joining the Blackfoot program since 2018, the meeting was an opportunity to feature the individuals who have made the initiative successful and to hear from members of the company’s Accounting and IT (information technology) apprenticeship program.

The apprenticeship program has been a success due to the continued support and partnership with the Montana Department of Labor & Industry, along with the Missoula College, the University of Montana and local businesses like Blackfoot. In February 2021, Blackfoot announced the first participant in its IT apprenticeship program had joined the company full time.

“When we joined the apprenticeship program in 2018, we had high expectations that the program would help us find new talent to support our growth,” said Laura Marshall, VP of Human Resources with Blackfoot Communications. “Additionally, we were excited about supporting local students by offering them real-world experience with the potential of joining Blackfoot full-time once the students met their requirements. We’ve been more than thrilled with the response, and the program continues to be another successful opportunity for Blackfoot to support our communities.”

Blackfoot joined the Montana Registered Apprenticeship program in 2018. Along with local businesses such as Allegiance Benefit Plan Management, First Call Computer Solutions and Univision Computers, the program matches students with companies to provide on-the-job training with hands-on experience.

“Apprenticeship programs empower workers, expand their lifetime earning potential, and help build a highly-skilled workforce,” Governor Greg Gianforte said. “We saw that in action today at Blackfoot Communications, and I encourage other companies to follow Blackfoot’s lead by sponsoring apprenticeships to develop their workforce talent pipeline.” 

Blackfoot is expanding its fiber network, covering even more of Montana with the technology and transport that allows homes and businesses to benefit from fast, reliable and secure internet access. The apprenticeship program is helping the company with experienced talent to support this expansion.

“As we continue to expand our fiber network, we are seeing an increasing need for an experienced workforce that will help us deliver the high-quality experience our customers have come to expect from Blackfoot,” said Jason Williams, CEO of Blackfoot Communications. “In partnership with the Missoula College and the University of Montana, our apprentice program creates the work experience that benefits students with hands-on training and, when possible, places graduates in relevant roles within Blackfoot. We’re looking forward to watching and supporting the growth of our apprenticeship graduates.”

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