HELENA, Mont. – National Economic Development Week is May 7–12, and the Montana Department of Commerce is celebrating by reflecting on the successes of its work to support the creation of jobs and opportunities for Montanans in communities across the state.
Commerce works with other statewide, regional and local organizations to support innovative and sustainable industries which strengthen Montana’s economy. In total, Commerce programs have supported hundreds of communities and Main Street businesses through housing, community development, and tourism and business development.
“Economic development is important work, and it’s making a difference in Montana,” said Commerce Director Pam Haxby-Cote. “By partnering with our communities and small businesses to support growth, we’re building an ever-stronger and more resilient economy for this and future generations.”
The following projects highlight some recent successes from across the state:
- In Fort Benton, a Community Development Block Grant for $800,000 upgraded mechanical systems to the aging Missouri River Medical Center, which not only increased its capacity to provide critical health care but also allowed the hospital to retain 65 full-time jobs.
- Affordable homes are being built or renovated in Billings, Butte, Kalispell, Lewistown, Livingston and Deer Lodge with $31.5 million in Montana Housing tax credits. The projects will provide affordable homes for 195 families while creating 385 good-paying construction jobs.
- Rocky Mountain Homes, based in Hamilton for more than 40 years, is expanding and expects to create and train 24 jobs, for which it will be reimbursed up to $180,000 through the Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund and up to $81,704 through the Primary Sector Workforce Training Grant. RMH previously received a loan for $750,000 through the Wood Products Revolving Loan Fund, which allowed it to retain 79 jobs during the last recession. Being one of the largest employers in Ravalli County, RMH has many employees who have roots in the local community going back five generations. RMH is proud to be able to provide employment and support to the local community.
- U.S. Optics of Kalispell, which relocated to Montana from California, is expanding and expects to create 56 jobs. It will be reimbursed up to $420,000 through the Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund for creating the jobs. It also received a Primary Sector Workforce Training Grant for up to $80,528 to train 17 of the new jobs.
- Twenty-seven communities received $750,000 in tourism grants to enhance and promote the visitor experience for the 12.5 million people who visit Montana each year, adding nearly $3.4 billion to the economy and supporting 53,380 jobs.
- In 2017, Montana's Small Business Development Center (SBDC) network helped successfully launch 78 businesses and created or retained 841 jobs.
Learn more about Commerce programs at commerce.mt.gov.