KALISPELL - Graduation season is in full swing, and Kalispell had its first-ever class graduate from Build Montana.
This year's class was small with only three students, but they graduated with real-life skills and possible job offers.
Build Montana was started two years ago by the Montana Contractors Association (MCA) to help address the workforce shortage and give students another option besides college.
“It's something that us as contractors in the MCA have been struggling to get is help. It's getting harder and harder to get help. it's really good to get kids that are interested in this and show them that they can make a living in Montana where it's getting tougher and tougher," said Kyle Schellinger, Build Montana Contracting Partner.
The program started in Billings for the first year and then added the Flathead into the program.
The MCA hopes to have the program statewide in four to five years and the main goal of Build Montana is to expose students to heavy equipment and various aspects of the construction industry.
“I mean, the biggest thing I've learned is show up on time, pay a lot of attention to it, and then just have a good mindset," said Build Montana student Kayden Chuey.
This year in the Flathead, students did not receive school credits for the program but the program will be accredited for next year.
The students did receive a certificate of recognition for completing the Build Montana program and created relationships with construction members in their local communities.
“This is something I've looked forward to, just heavy equipment, I've been in school for so long. I'm just tired of it. So I mean it’s a good way to go to for kids that want to chase that dream of being in construction," said Chuey.
For more information on the Build Montana program, visit https://build-montana.org.