News & Features

Help Wanted

As the Flathead enters the busiest hiring season of the year in preparation for summer, employers and employees are on the hunt for the perfect fit as the valley continues to define itself after the recession.


Even though the snow hasn’t quite yet melted from the valley and spring has yet to fully bloom, the summer season is already on the lips and minds of many Flathead residents, especially businesses and potential employees.

It’s the busiest hiring season of the year, and the Beacon looks at what that means now that the recession is behind us and unemployment is projected to drop drastically.

We talked to employers, potential employees, state departments, and local staffing resources to get a picture of employment across the Flathead, in plenty of time to get squared away for the busiest time of year.

Beacon File Photo

Now Hiring

With another busy summer season around the corner, local businesses are eager to grow in a tight labor market

Job postings are piling up as broad economic growth continues to swell and the bustling summer season approaches. All indicators, from residential and commercial development to population gains and nonresident visitation, demonstrate that Flathead County is once again a leader in Montana’s thriving economic landscape, similar to the pre-recession boom.


Top Jobs: Employment Projections in Montana

Montana is expected to add more than 7,000 jobs in 2017, with thousands more expected each year for the next decade. What does that look like and where will those jobs be?

Earlier this month, the Department of Labor and Industry released its employment and labor force projections for the state from 2015 through 2025. DLI predicts that with forecasted employment growth and retirements, the unemployment rate could be as little as 2 percent in the next 10 years.

Basing its projection on historic employment data, current census data, and various economic modeling scenarios, this is where the department sees employment going in the next decade. READ MORE >>>>

Michael Thompson describes a problem he has had repairing his father’s .38 Special at Flathead Valley Community College on March 23, 2017. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

Building Programs to Boost Local Jobs

FVCC’s course list includes unique programs specifically designed to prepare workers for local employment opportunities, including in health care, manufacturing and firearms

Firearms Technologies is a relatively new program in the FVCC catalog, one that was developed with local firearms businesses during the tough recession years. It was a part-time summer program, but talking to industry leaders in the valley gave the college a good idea of what the businesses were looking for in terms of skilled workers, and the college wanted to help put local people in those jobs. READ MORE >>>>>

Patricia Goocher, pictured at Flathead Job Service on March 23, 2017. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

Who are the Job Hunters?

As Flathead County continues to rebound from the recession, a new labor market is  emerging. Who are the people trying to find work as the economy evolves?

Many of the valley’s stalwart natural-resource industries, such as timber and aluminum refining, have been cut back or eliminated altogether, with a new wave of businesses filling in the vacuum.

According to Trevor Gonser, employment services supervisor at the Kalispell Job Service, the new vanguard of business tends to be more “knowledge based,” with jobs requiring specific levels of education or certifications, such as positions in the health care industry or high tech.