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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce


Press Release

U.S. Economic Development Administration Invests $1.4 Million to Help Establish a Trans-Border Industrial Trades Training Center in Great Falls, Montana

Montana Governor Steve Bullock, Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester and Representative Steve Daines Applaud Investment to Increase the Number of Skilled Welders Available to Work in the Oil Sector

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) today announced a $1.4 million grant to Great Falls College Montana State University of Great Falls, Montana, to help establish a trans-border industrial trades training center. The project is expected to create 120 jobs and generate $24 million in private investment, according to grantee estimates.

“The Obama Administration is committed to creating jobs, encouraging innovation, and improving our nation’s economic competitiveness,” said U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Matt Erskine. “The Industrial Trades Training Center will train welders for certification in both American and Canadian welding standards to help fill the workforce needs of industries involved in the Canadian oil sands extraction and the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota and eastern Montana.”

“Creating jobs and improving education is my top priority as Governor – and this does exactly that,” said Montana Governor Steve Bullock. “By training welders at Great Falls College, we’ll be addressing workforce needs and placing Montanans in good-paying jobs.”

“Investing in specialized training today supports good-paying Montana jobs for the long haul. Montanans should not have to leave our state to find the training they need to land good-paying jobs available in the energy industry. I’m thrilled to see Great Falls College-MSU land this important investment into good-paying jobs. In the meantime, I’ll keep pressing the Administration to address the job training and infrastructure needs created by the energy boom in Montana,” said U.S. Senator Max Baucus.

Great Falls College-MSU is also a partner in Baucus’ Eastern Montana Energy Workforce Development Initiative designed to provide training in Montana for jobs opening up in the Bakken.

Baucus led a bipartisan coalition to stop a 2005 plan to eliminate the EDA and has helped lead efforts to keep the program a viable source of funding for Montana projects and jobs.

“As companies in the Bakken help lead our country towards energy security, they’ll need well-trained employees,” U.S. Senator Jon Tester said. “Great Falls College’s strong technical training programs make it an ideal location for this new industrial training center, and I look forward to touring the facility when it is up and running.”

“Today marks an exciting step forward in growing Montana jobs and filling an important need for certified welders across our state,” said U.S. Representative Steve Daines. “An expanded welding program at Great Falls College-MSU will serve an important role in training Montana students and allowing them to use their skills and talents here at home, whether it’s in our growing energy sector or here in Great Falls at the new ADF steel plant. This is a great example of how we can work together to provide Montana workers with the training they need, grow our state’s economy and put Montana first.”

The project will involve the renovation of both the existing Industrial Trades Building and the Main Building. The existing welding shop in the Industrial Trades Building will be renovated to accommodate an additional 20 welding stations. The existing carpentry shop will be relocated to the Main Building, which will be remodeled to accommodate the relocated carpentry shop and the existing auto shop.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.