As a nonprofit formed in 2001 and affiliated with the University of Montana, Accelerate Montana was created as a resource for the people of Montana. We have made it our mission to facilitate a robust workforce and help build economic capacity wherever opportunities exist across Montana. We are helping resolve economic and personnel obstacles and turn them into opportunities.
We realize that Montana needs people with expertise in specialized areas of economic development. For that reason, we added a collection of programs that encompass everything from providing advice and support to small businesses to large enterprises looking to build a skilled workforce. We help entrepreneurs, while also helping Montanans develop new skills, master current skills, or start a new career. Montana is a great place to live and work so we added Accelerate Montana’s Rural Innovation Initiative (AMRII) to provide entrepreneurial coaching and support for rural and indigenous communities. We also added the Women’s Entrepreneurship and Leadership Lab (W.E.L.L.) and the Native Women Launch. These programs provide relevant and tribally diverse online courses focusing on business ownership and personal finance.
In keeping with the industrialist spirit of Montana we added Blackstone Launchpad (BLP). This program helps bring students, alumni, faculty, and staff, connections to startup resources and allows them to explore entrepreneurship. We partner with the Missoula Small Business Development Center Network (Missoula SBDC) to help businesses achieve their goals of growth, innovation, and success. In addition, the Montana Women’s Business Center (MTWBC) provides counseling and training to women entrepreneurs who can network, learn from one another, compare notes, and build their personal economies.
When some Montana companies wanted to take their business overseas, Accelerate Montana collaborated with the Montana World Trade Center (MWTC). We work with teams that have specific expertise such as the Montana Procurement Technical Assistance Center (Montana PTAC) which helps companies find, bid, and win government contracts. With this, we have identified specific growth areas and laid the foundation for the future of our economy. Montana is home to many emerging industries which bring an abundance of opportunities. Tech companies have become some of the top employers in recent years and we are helping prepare Montana workers. The addition of CyberMontana provides cybersecurity education to students of all ages with certificate and degree programs. Those already in the field can build on their current skills through professional development. For Montanans with little or no coding experience, the Montana Code School helps prepare a “code-savvy” workforce. A recent labor shortage combined with the onset of new industries in Montana has amplified the need for a precisely trained, and skilled workforce. Montana’s economy is changing and this has created a window of opportunity. Montanans want to live, work, and prosper in Montana, therefore, Job Site Ready (JSR) micro-credential was introduced. JSR is designed to equip workers with experience and essential skills to start entry-level jobs in the construction trade.
In February of 2022, The Rapid Training Program (RPT) was given a grant of six million dollars. This grant enables Accelerate Montana to help in people of Montana build or change careers. Rapid Training offers a flexible way to attain new skills needed for in-demand talent. The program uses the technology of today and leverages Montanans to be self-reliant with the exact skills they need. RPT is fast, flexible, and affordable while meeting the state’s workforce industries' priorities and connecting them with those employers. As a result of working with our partners, two-year community tribal colleges, and companies around the state, we are delivering a network that is specifically what employers are looking for.
The ultimate goal of Accelerate Montana is to help create jobs and build Montana’s economy. As we move forward, the workforce of Montana will continue to grow while utilizing the opportunities Accelerate Montana continues to offer.