Date: Fri, Jan 10th, 2020

First Dick Anderson Construction Apprentices Complete Program

Cole Morse, Dick Anderson Construction employee, is recognized as he completes the construction apprenticeship program.

GREAT FALLS — On October 30, five Dick Anderson Construction employees were recognized for the completion of a state apprenticeship.

Over four years ago, Dick Anderson Construction (DAC) asked Great Falls College MSU to help them upskill their employees through a customized training program. This program was designed specifically for Dick Anderson Construction and started with eight employees in Helena. During the program, Great Falls College MSU provided the related instruction, labs, instructors and administrative support.

"With retirements and low unemployment rates, we knew it would be important to train our own employees. Great Falls College MSU was willing to work with us to create a program that fit our needs," said Annie Chase, Human Resources Director at Dick Anderson Construction.

In 2018, the customized training program became a state recognized apprenticeship program. The five who completed the first state apprenticeship requirements – Jacob Cole Morse, Buddy Lervold, Nate Nelson, Jack Mueller and Tony Gavaghan – were part of the original training.

"At first, DAC wasn't sure about making the customized training an apprenticeship program, but once we realized the benefits of a state apprenticeship, it was an easy decision to make," Chase said.

Human Resource Director, Annie Chase, Chairman and Founder, Dick Anderson, with Dick Anderson Construction employees Cole Morse, Tony Gavaghan, Jack Mueller, Buddy Lervold, and Thano Nelson

Pictured from left: Human Resource Director, Annie Chase, Chairman and Founder, Dick Anderson, with Dick Anderson Construction employees Cole Morse, Tony Gavaghan, Jack Mueller, Buddy Lervold, and Thano Nelson.

Each apprentice has completed over 144 hours of related instruction, over 2,000 hours of on-the-job training and shown competency in a wide range of carpentry skills.

In the related instruction and labs, Great Falls College MSU worked closely with Dick Anderson Construction superintendents to make sure what was being taught was applicable to the work sites. It also created a better connect to Dick Anderson Construction and its culture.

"This program has provided me with new skills and the fact that Dick Anderson invested in me has made a difference in my life," said Cole Morse, Dick Anderson Construction employee and state apprentice.

These five employees are the first to complete the apprenticeship program, but there will be many more in the future. Currently, there are five cohorts in four cities across Montana – Helena, Great Falls, Bozeman (two cohorts) and Missoula for a total of 32 employees in the apprenticeship program.

The apprenticeship consists of four levels and takes approximately three years to complete. At the completion of each level, the apprentice is reviewed by Dick Anderson Construction with input from Great Falls College MSU, Those who have completed the level move on to the next level and receive a wage increase.

The partnership between Great Falls College MSU and Dick Anderson Construction has been one of learning and growth. With each level and new group, changes are made to the program to make sure it is working for Dick Anderson Construction and their employees are getting the training and skills they need.

"We are excited to have the first apprentices complete this program," said Heather Palermo, Director of Lifelong Learning at Great Falls College MSU. "When we first started the training, we had no idea where it would go. Dick Anderson Construction has been a great partner and we have learned a lot together and look forward to providing this training to many more employees."

For more information on customized training and apprenticeship opportunities offered through Great Falls College MSU, contact the Center for Lifelong Learning at 406-268-3734.

For more information contact:

Heather Palermo
Director of Lifelong Learning
Phone: (406)771.2290

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Record Number: 650