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New state grant program helps businesses refill lost jobs from pandemic

Shop Local sign in downtown Helena
Posted at 1:09 PM, Oct 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-07 19:42:49-04

HELENA — The Montana Department of Commerce has launched a new grant program to help businesses expand jobs in the state.

The Workforce Recovery grant program is designed to help refill jobs that were lost due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Department of Commerce Director Tara Rice says businesses that have been able to open back up this summer are operating in new and different ways, with many working at a reduced number of staff.

“Our businesses are so important to our communities across the state for the services they provide, and one important thing they provide is job opportunities within their communities,” said Department of Commerce Director Tara Rice. “So as businesses move towards being able to rehire and rebuild their workforce. This program is a grant incentive to help them do so.”

Montana’s unemployment rate was reported at 5.6 percent for August, 2 percent higher than the state’s unemployment before the pandemic began.

The program will reimburse a business for the wages of full-time, permanent jobs that are created and retained for at least six months. Businesses can receive support for up to 25 jobs that are created and retained for at least six months.

A reimbursement of up to $7,500 per job is available to businesses in high-poverty counties with a $3,750 per job match from the business. A reimbursement of up to $5,000 per job, with a $5,000 match, is available for businesses in all other counties.

Funding for the program comes from the Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund (BSTF), and was made possible through a directive from Governor Steve Bullock.

Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis until all funds have been committed or December 31, 2020.

More information about the Workforce Recovery grant program can be found here.

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