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Final Report: Montana’s Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED)

Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) http://dli.mt.gov/wired/ : Montana is one of 13 regions across the country to successfully compete for the first round of the Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) grant. The WIRED grant brought $15 million dollars to the state over a four-year period. Montana’s proposal focused on 32 rural counties and 6 reservations in the eastern part of the state, and provided training to build bioproduct industries, especially those related to biolubricants and biofuels.

Partners within the Governor’s office, Department of Commerce, DLI, the university system, and others are collaborated to ensure a successful WIRED project in Montana, which will create jobs in the high growth, high wage energy industry, and improve the economic outlook for the most rural parts of our state, including 6 of Montana’s 7 Reservations. The SWIB Chair and the SWIB’s Economic Development & Business Retention Chair serve on the WIRED Executive Committee.

The WIRED initiative in Montana has come to a conclusion. The full $15 million was utilized and resulted in 3,618 individuals completing training, 634 educators prepared and hired for instruction in the alternative energy industry, 101 new curriculums developed, resulting in 1,447 additional students that can be trained annually. The program reached 25,432 individuals through outreach and education events held within the region and assisted in creating 472.6 new bio-energy jobs with an average wage of $17.06.

The limited duration of the WIRED grant necessitates that the initiative be transformative in nature, acting as a catalyst to promote further future steps toward the goals of Montana’s Agro Energy Plan. This goal has been achieve through the continued work of multiple state agencies and partner organization pursuing sector strategies and other regional industry driven programs that closely resemble the WIRED model.

Full Report: http://www.matr.net/files/WIRED9-22-10.doc

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