Ending Montana’s Apprenticeship Red Tape

Ending Montana’s Apprenticeship Red Tape

Increasing the apprentice-to-journeyman ratio creates more opportunities for hard working Montanans to learn a good paying skilled trade, while also allowing for rural and small businesses to expand their ability to hire apprentices.

“Legislation, the deliberate making of law, has justly been described as among all inventions of man the one fraught with the gravest consequences, more far-reaching in its effects even than fire and gun-powder.” – Friedrich Hayek

“Help wanted” banners cover storefronts, “now hiring” signs block shop windows, and job flyers are everywhere. Montana’s businesses are trying everything they can to attract prospective employees. Employers are offering good paying jobs, but unnecessary red tape is preventing workers from taking those jobs. Frontier Institute President and CEO, Kendall Cotton explains the situation in his most recent op-ed.

“There are employers in Montana who would like to hire and train new apprentices but are unable to do so because current regulations would require multiple new journeymen or full-time workers to also be hired – a cost many small businesses can’t afford,” he writes.

These regulations are known as apprentice-to-journeyman ratios, through which Montana businesses can only hire apprentices at a ratio of 1 apprentice per 1 journeyman for their first hire, while additional apprentices would require 2 journeymen per 1 apprentice. A practice that has been found to be “particularly burdensome for small contractors in rural areas, where it is more difficult to recruit additional journeyworkers to supervise apprentices.”

“Thankfully, Gov. Greg Gianforte recently proposed a rule change that could be a huge boon to our state’s workforce. By slashing complicated red tape for employers who sponsor apprentices, Gianforte’s reforms will significantly expand opportunities for our young workers to enter skilled trades at a time when extra help is badly needed.”

The critics of the rule change, the trade unions, have claimed that “it is nearly impossible to oversee and safely train two apprentices with one journeyman.” Those claims fall flat as our neighbors Wyoming, Idaho and North Dakota have either the same ratio as Gov. Gianforte has proposed or even more generous ratios, yet these states’ skilled workers are safely going about their job. 

Increasing the apprentice-to-journeyman ratio creates more opportunities for hard working Montanans to learn a good paying skilled trade, while also allowing for rural and small businesses to expand their ability to hire apprentices. Montana needs to end this unnecessary red-tape, and get folks back to work.

For Liberty,

Tanner Avery

The Fiber Optic Boondoggle

  1. Last week, Frontier Institute Visiting Fellow Eric Peterson’s op-ed on local attempts to enter into the internet service provider market was published in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

“There are millions of federal dollars available already to expand internet access in Montana. Instead of trying and likely failing to get in the internet business themselves local officials should be focused on eliminating government barriers to hasten buildout. Policies like reducing fees, slashing red tape, and creating faster permitting processes will help ensure that dollars spent to expand internet in Montana go as far as possible.”

The Roots of Montana’s Housing Shortage

  1. Last week an analyst from the Pew Charitable Trust discussed the root causes of Montana’s current housing crisis. The main contributor being a housing supply that expanded by only 7% from 2010 to 2020, while Montana’s population grew by 10% in the same period of time. The main source of the housing shortage being “zoning regulations that are seen as contributing to the housing shortage by making it harder and more expensive to build new housing units.”

This is further confirmation to what the Frontier Institute has been saying all along: Housing red-tape created by local governments raises the cost of building new homes, while also limiting the housing supply. If Montana is to move past our current housing crisis our counties and towns will need to end or reduce the zoning regulations that are causing housing prices to skyrocket.

Restoring the Patient-Doctor Relationship

  1. This week the Frontier Institute’s newest Guest Author, Dr. Kathleen Brown, published an op-ed explaining the benefits of Direct Primary Care medical practice and how its special design can help to restore the patient-doctor relationship. Be sure to check out the entire article.

“Responsible legislators and government officials are looking for ways to improve healthcare quality and lower costs, and they have noticed that Direct Primary Care is doing that. However, they should understand that re-introducing a third party payer into the middle of the wonderful innovation of DPC would likely kill a wonderful thing, a delicate green shoot of genuine free market medicine, unless the funds are directly under the control of the patient.”

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