HELENA, Mont. -- The Montana Department of Commerce, in partnership with Accelerate MT and The Media Training Center, is offering enrolled members of Montana's tribal nations a new scholarship program for a certified film production assistant (PA) course. The program’s goal is to increase the PA pool as well as employment opportunities among Montana’s Indigenous communities. This training will be offered in-person or on-line.

The Media Training Center, in conjunction with the Montana Department of Commerce’s Office of Indian Economic Development (OICED) Tribal Tourism and its Montana Film Office (MFO), is offering scholarships to cover the $500 cost of the course for ten individuals from each tribal nation. Those who complete the course willreceive a digital credential, and be entered into The Media Training Center’s available to hire database as well as call-to-work opportunities tracked within the MFO.

The commercial media and film industry currently has a labor shortage, especially in rural Montana, which has meant the outsourcing of PAs. This new program will increase the numbers of Montana tribal members available in this workforce; based on their proximity to rural locations, they will be uniquely positioned to fill these jobs.

The Montana Department of Commerce funded the program, which offers 80 scholarships of $500 each. There are ten scholarships for enrolled tribal members of working age from each of Montana’s eight tribal nations. Applicants must be at least 16 years old and an enrolled member of a Montana tribal nation with tribal ID to participate. They must also establish a free Submittable account to apply. (Click HERE to do that.)

Applicants will be randomly selected to ensure equal opportunity. The process will repeat as often as necessary to ensure all scholarships are utilized. Other selection methods may be used if some of the scholarships have not been awarded by July 2024.

Round one of the application cycle is open until noon on August 22, 2023; awardees will be notified by 5 p.m. that day. Up to half of the scholarships are available during round one, averaging five awards per tribal nation. Those not awarded in round one will automatically be entered into round two.

Applicants can select on-line or in-person learning for the two-day training course. The first in-person training will be in Polson on August 26 - 27.