Governor Greg Gianforte met with students and staff from the Job Site Ready Program and the Jackson Contractor Group at the Missoula Butterfly House and Insectarium on Thursday afternoon.
The Butterfly House, which isunder constructionat the Missoula Fairgrounds, has a team of about 40 working on it. Some of these workers are part of the Job Site Ready Program, a job-preparedness program run through Missoula College. It’s a construction-focused program that sets its students up with skills needed for entry-level construction jobs.
The Jackson Contractor Group is building the Butterfly House along with other sub-contractors. The company partners with Job Site Ready to train pre–apprentice workers, two of whom were at the job site on Thursday, Job Site Ready Program Manager Katherine Lechman explained.
Through a 45-hour curriculum, students get a comprehensive understanding of the construction industry, tool operation, guidance on how to stay safe on a job site and general information on the construction process, the University of Montana website states.
When they finish the course, students have the credentials to get hired into a construction job, and they get their own set of professional tools.“It gives them the job site etiquette they need,” Gianforte said at the site on Thursday.
Gianforte and program employees agreed that programs like Job Site Ready get Montanans into jobs that help combat statewide issues like the housing shortage.“Our limiting resource is people,” Jackson Contractor Group Human Resources Manager Sam Beck said.
Lechman said partnerships between educational institutions and industries are important, and Job Site Ready gets trainees on the job quicker and gives them a positive training experience. In addition to Missoula College, Job Site Ready runs programs through Bitterroot College, Great Falls College and Gallatin College.
“It was encouraging to see this public-private partnership linking the academy with the marketplace to help employers fill the skills gap they have and help Montanans get into better-paying jobs," Gianforte added.
Job Site Ready students and employees walked with the governor through the foundation of the butterfly house.“It’s going to be a beautiful building,” Gianforte said.
The facility will include 29,000 square feet of indoor space with a conservatory that will be home to free-flying butterflies and tropical plants. An insectarium with live insects, interactive exhibits and a 2.5-acre outdoor education garden featuring native plants, flowers, vegetables, fruits, herbs and trees are also part of the project.
Workers at the site said the Missoula Butterfly House is estimated to open sometime next spring.
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