By Missoula Current

A bill that gives tax breaks to businesses that offer on-the-job training was signed into law by Montana Gov. Steve Bullock on Thursday, capping his efforts to incentivize growth and build employee skills.

The ceremonial bill signing was held in Great Falls and is part of the governor's apprenticeship tax credit, written in House Bill 308.

“This is another opportunity to make sure that employers have access to a trained and talented workforce so that we can continue to grow Main Street Montana businesses, all while boosting earning potential for Montanans across the state,” Bullock said.

The measure provides businesses with a $750 tax credit for every position hired when the worker is offered on-the-job training through the Montana Registered Apprenticeship Unit.

For every veteran hired and given an apprenticeship opportunity, businesses will receive a $1,500 tax credit.

“We know that the role of government is not to create jobs, but rather to create an environment where Montana businesses can thrive, innovate and prosper,” said Rep. Casey Schreiner, the bill's sponsor. “The apprenticeship tax credit is a great example of the state recognizing that we need to have skin in the game, and we need to give a little back to those that are driving our economy.”

According to the Montana Department of Labor and Industry, apprenticeships provide opportunities to earn-while-you-learn in nearly 1,000 occupations.

The measure is part of Bullock’s Quality Jobs Plan. Other parts of the plan include House Bill 226, which gives local governments the option of waiving up to 75 percent of new or expanding businesses’ equipment tax obligation for the first five years of operation.

“Small businesses are the heart of Montana’s economy and the job creators of today and tomorrow” Bullock said.

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