National Disability Employment Awareness month celebrates Polson apprentice
News from the Office of the Governor
HELENA — In celebration of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, Governor Greg Gianforte recently joined the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) and the Department of Labor & Industry (DLI) to highlight an apprentice in Montana’s Registered Apprenticeship Program.
“Tray Lichtenberg is a shining example of what’s possible when you set your mind to something, and he’s now on his way to becoming an electrician,” Gov. Gianforte said. “Employers like All Electric, LLC help make these success stories possible, and I appreciate their partnership to help young Montanans achieve their dreams.”
First enrolling in the DPHHS Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) in August 2020, Tray Lichtenberg of Polson is now earning on-the-job training to become an electrician.
Pre-ETS assists students with disabilities ages 14-21 with transitioning from school to postsecondary education or employment by providing them an early start at job exploration.
To support Lichtenberg’s interest in the electrical industry, pre-ETS staff partnered with Aaron Luper of All Electric, LLC in Polson to host Lichtenberg for a work-based learning experience.
Today, Lichtenberg is fully enrolled in the Montana Registered Apprenticeship program as an apprentice.
“I truly appreciate all the support that I’ve received from the State programs and All Electric,” Lichtenberg said. “It’s my dream to one day become an electrician, and I’m getting closer to achieving that goal every day.”
Aaron Luper with All Electric, LLC celebrated Lichtenberg’s accomplishments, saying, “I’m so proud of Tray for his commitment to his chosen career path. He is one determined individual, and an inspiration to all those who know him.” Luper also encouraged businesses to learn about the state programs that connect individuals with disabilities to employment opportunities.
Lichtenberg’s mother, Janene, added, “There was a time when we just weren’t sure what the future had in store for Tray in terms of entering the workforce. But after he began working with the Pre-ETS program that has changed. We are just so thankful for Pre-ETS and to All Electric for their excellent mentorship and support.”
In Montana, the Pre-ETS program provides services for 1,500 students every year.
Since Jan. 1, DLI has added over 700 new apprentices and 60 new employer sponsors to its apprenticeship program, many of which were added following a rule change championed by the governor. The change drastically expanded access to apprenticeships for Montana workers, and it also made Montana more competitive with its neighbors.
Montanans can learn more about the Pre-ETS program at:dphhs.mt.gov/detd/preets and Montana’s Registered Apprenticeship Program by visiting: apprenticeship.mt.gov.