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MISSOULA – Missoula College of the University of Montana has secured the first statewide registered finance apprenticeship with its Accounting Technology program.

Funded by a $1.3 million Department of Labor and Industry grant, Montana’s initiative develops apprenticeships in six categories: energy, construction, health care, information technology, advanced manufacturing and, now, finance.

The registered finance apprenticeship was signed April 19, marking the beginning of a pilot apprenticeship with Allegiance Benefit Plan Management, Anderson ZurMuehlen & Co., JCCS Certified Public Accountants, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Corpat Inc.

Lisa Swallow, MC’s Accounting Technology program director, spearheaded the finance apprenticeship efforts through a partnership with her college, the labor department and the five key industry partners.

“This is especially exciting, as the registered finance apprenticeship is going to open up two-year degrees as an option for students who may not have had that opportunity before,” Swallow said.

Apprenticeships already benefit students by integrating career development and financial stability hand-in-hand with coursework. The end product is a more marketable prospective employee with less debt, Swallow said.

The first group of employers will pilot the five-semester program that coordinates classroom time with year-round employment. At the culmination of the program, the apprentice will earn an Associate of Applied Science in Accounting Technology and a federally recognized Montana Apprenticeship certificate documenting skills and knowledge in the accounting field.

“Our hope is to engage individuals who want to couple their education with a long-term career,” said Margaret McManus, Allegiance Benefit Plan Management vice president and chief administrative officer. “In turn we are helping them secure a great job in a growing company in an earn-while-you-learn opportunity – a win-win for all.”

For more information on the Accounting Technology program, click HERE.

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