The Montana Contractors Association announced this week that Montana gained nearly 4,000 construction jobs during the pandemic.

Marketing and Communications Director Barry Hauser shared the report with KGVO News.

“In February of 2020, about the time the pandemic started, our construction job numbers here in Montana were roughly around 30,700, and we've increased that number in the past two years, to 34,200, which that's roughly an 11.4% increase, which lets Montana lead the nation in those construction jobs gained during this pandemic period,” began Hauser.

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Hauser said one of the reasons for the dramatic gains in construction jobs during the pandemic had to do with safety on the job site.

“We have a membership that is very focused on safety, and so those folks were, they were doing everything necessary to keep worksite open,” he said. “They were following all the social distancing standards and the vaccination standards, and so they were able to keep those job sites open. However, probably most important, was that the Montana Department of Transportation decided not to cancel any of their slated projects, which kept our members busy through this whole time period.”

Hauser said one particular program also helped to keep workers on the job.

“The timing actually kind of matched up with when the pandemic first started,” he said. “We actually began a workforce development program called Build Montana, and so we've kind of been really sending that message home that construction jobs are good jobs, they're higher paying than most with great benefits leading to great careers.”

Specifically, Hauser said Missoula College played an integral part in contributing to that success.

“Missoula College is actually one of the partners that we have had several discussions with,” he said. “They created a fantastic program called their Job Site Ready Skills Program. They've had some initial success getting that program out to the general public. I believe they've also shared it with a couple of the other two year colleges in the state. I believe Gallatin College now has a job site ready program up and going, as well as some others. So they've been one school that's been leading the charge and getting that workforce message out.”

The impressive numbers came from a press release this week from the Associated General Contractors of America.

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