Montana’s agricultural community embracing apprenticeships

As businesses across Montana continue to use apprenticeships to build their workforces, one local Havre farm is using this time-honored training model to teach organic farming operations.
Vilicus Farms recently launched two new apprenticeship programs in collaboration with the Montana Registered Apprenticeship program which is administered by the Montana Department of Labor & Industry.
The Agrarian Immersion Experience apprenticeship is an intensive, immersive day-to-day program focusing on the day-to-day operations organic farming operations. This eight month apprenticeship is offered through a partnership with the Quivira Coalition.
The second apprenticeship is a structured 2-year paid occupational training in dryland organic farming operations. Once graduates complete their 4,000 of on-the-job training and 288 hours of related instruction, they will receive an industry recognized credential.
“This apprenticeship is a great opportunity for folks interested in gaining some real work experience with organic farming,” said Montana Department of Agriculture Director Ron de Yong. “One of the biggest challenges facing many farmers today is a dwindling workforce, so it is great to see efforts like this that aim to address that shortfall.”
Apprenticeships continue to be a driver for businesses to teach employees industry hard and soft skills, while providing a paycheck while they learn.
“With over 1,000 business sponsors and 7,000 apprentices overseen by the Montana Registered Apprenticeship unit, more and more industries are finding the value of work-based learning,” said Labor & Industry Commissioner Pam Bucy. “Businesses are finding this an important tool for training the highly-skilled workers they need to grow their operations.”

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