University Relations and Communications

MSU Billings COT, state workforce groups present forum on energy, construction jobs

August 2, 2010


Dan Carter, University Relations, 657-2269


Energy, education, workforce experts collaborate on event


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — In the past decade, the energy-related economy in Montana has seen sustained growth. But as the workforce continues to age and many workers reach retirement age, new workers will soon be in high demand.


So what’s the best way to prepare for a successful career in a fast-growing job segment?


Information and education is a great first step, according to organizers of an upcoming seminar on energy-related jobs.


Experts from the Montana State University Billings College of Technology, the Montana Department of Labor and Industry and the Billings Job Service provide insights into education and training necessary for people to be prepared for continued growth in the energy economy.


The “Career Awareness Fair for the Energy and Heavy Equipment Industries” is set for Wednesday, Aug. 18 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Billings Job Service, 2121 Rosebud Drive. It is free and open to anyone interested in exploring career opportunities in energy and heavy equipment.


Lyle Courtnage, an outreach and training coordinator at the MSU Billings College of Technology, said the event will feature exposure to simulator training of heavy equipment; information from industry experts; panel discussions on careers in welding, refineries and power plants; and educational opportunities available through MSU Billings.


“The goal is to let as many as possible know about job potential in the energy and construction sectors,” Courtnage said. “Those jobs are going to grow as the economy recovers.”


People can try their hand on motor grader or excavator simulators, meet with faculty members who are in charge of various energy-related programs at the COT or meet with industry experts who can provide more insights on updating or gaining skills needed for a new career path. Experts with the Billings Job Service will be on hand to explain financial options available for those interested in taking classes.


The renewable energy arena is projected to become a major player in Montana’s economy. To prepare workers for that industry, the MSU Billings COT will begin offering a two-year program in sustainable energy technology starting in January. The Sustainable Energy Technician Associate of Applied Science program will prepare graduates for technician jobs in the rapidly expanding sustainable energy industry. Graduates will have general skills in industrial safety, electrical troubleshooting, hydraulic and pneumatic system operation and mechanical system repair. They will also have gain specialized skills in programmable logic controls, digital electronics and wind turbine operations and maintenance.


For more information on the Career Awareness Fair, contact Courtnage at 247-3015 or by e-mail: