Main Street Montana Fall Edition Highlights Fergus County

Nearly forty years ago, Warren Raitt, Roger Johnson, Jimmy
Kaaro and Jack Songer protected the streets of Lewistown.

Today their
images grace the cover of the fall edition of the Main Street Montana
highlighting Fergus County and the economic and social impacts of

"We’ve heard from employers feeling the workforce pinch of
Montana’s record low unemployment rate," said Labor Commissioner Keith
Kelly. "In this edition, we expose the public to the multitude of job
skills and training opportunities inmates have available to reenter
Montana’s workforce, upon release, as contributing and productive

According to Kelly, in addition to easing the burden of finding
workers, hiring offenders can benefit employers through tax credits.
The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) allows a tax credit of up to
$2,400 per employee on wages paid during the first year of employment.

Offenders represent a significant workforce in Montana.

Department of Corrections supervises about 13,200 offenders, and about
eight out of every 10 of those are in correctional programs in
communities throughout Montana that allow them to hold jobs.

Lewistown and Fergus County are playing a key role in the state’s
efforts to manage offenders outside of prison walls. Montana’s newest
correctional facility is the Nexus treatment center for meth addiction,
located in Lewistown. This 80-bed program is a crucial tool in the
state’s effort to combat the effects of methamphetamine.

"Nexus represents one of this nation’s most innovative approaches
to meth and breaking the grip that the drug has on its victims," said
Mike Ferriter, Corrections Department director. "We believe this
program, and the one for women in Boulder, can serve as a national model
for states struggling to find a new and effective solution to this
dangerous and growing problem of meth addiction."

The Main Street Montana is a bi-annual publication produced by the
Montana Department of Labor and Industry in partnership with the Montana
Department of Corrections, Department of Commerce and the Governor’s
Office of Economic Development.
An electronic copy of the publication is available at

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