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Two Missoula firms seek state grant to hire 222 workers over next two years

Tech graduation
Posted at 11:26 AM, Jun 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-15 13:26:30-04

MISSOULA - Projecting continued growth in the coming years, two companies based in Missoula have applied for job creation grants through the Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund to help hire more than 220 employees, combined.

Cognizant ATG on Tuesday said it intended to bring on 200 employees over the next 24 months while DJA is making room for 22 new employees at its Missoula headquarters over the same period.

“For our projected job growth, we’re asking support for more than 200 jobs over the next two years to support the job growth that we’re projecting and seeing,” said Carey Davis, director of global workforce strategy for Cognizant-ATG. “We’re building high-paying tech jobs across Montana, primarily in Missoula.”

The company is currently housed in the Old Sawmill District, where it plans to expand into the technology campus now under construction on Wyoming Street. The first phase of that project is expected to be finished this year, making room for the several hundred new workers ATG looks to hire over the next two years.

Under the Big Sky grant, the jobs must pay at or above the county average wage, which is currently $22.83 an hour in Missoula County, according to the Missoula Economic Partnership. Davis said the new hires will be doing everything from strategy consulting to platform building.

“Many of our folks are getting trained and hired on to help consult large tech companies on how to implement these cloud solutions to support their day-to-day business operations,” said Davis. “It’s great we can do that from Montana.”

DJA is also looking to bring on new employees. On Tuesday, Michelle Halley, the human resource manager for DJA’s headquarters in Missoula, said the firm hired 15 new employees in May, with nine of them based in Missoula.

“We’re seeing an inflow of project work where we’ll need to continue hiring skilled talent at good wages, said Halley. “Our hiring plan over the next two years is conservatively set for 12 full-time employees in Missoula this next year and 10 the year following.”

She said wages range from $22 to $42 an hour.

DJA was founded in 1973 and focuses on transportation, infrastructure and environmental services. It has grown to more than 100 employees with 76 of them currently based in Missoula.

Halley said the firm is currently leading the water and wastewater project at Death Valley National Park. Its local work has included the South Reserve pedestrian bridge, the Missoula to Lolo Trail, restoration at Milltown Dam and Fort Missoula Regional Park.

“The majority of our revenues funnel back into the Missoula community, and those revenues have grown from $3.6 million in 2012 to over $21 million last year,” she said. “We continue to grow and secure significant contracts with federal agencies because of our reputation for quality work.”