Build Montana kicked-off its inaugural heavy equipment program in the Billings school district on February 1, 2021. The program is sponsored by the Montana Contractors Association, in partnership with the Montana Equipment Dealers Association and the MCA Education Foundation. The curriculum is focused on the operation and maintenance of construction equipment. High school juniors and senior are eligible to participate. This program explores machine theory, jobsite safety, maintenance, machine operation, site development and the incorporation of machine guidance technology and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the construction process. Learning will be aided using manufacturer approved online learning, hands on machine walk arounds and site visits for firsthand observation.
The initial program in Billings saw 6 students enrolled. In the second year, Build Montana oversaw 10 students. Many of the students from both cohorts went on to careers in construction with the MCA member partners that were involved. A pilot program began in Kalispell at Flathead High School on 2022, as 3 students went through the curriculum. Beginning in 2023, a third Build Montana program will begin in the three Missoula public high schools.