Two Missoula companies have been awarded a combined $450,000 in grants from the state to support the creation of 63 new relatively high-paying jobs.
Consumer Direct, a human services agency that provides long-term care management solutions, and LumenAd, a software firm that offers a media management platform for brands and ad agencies, were the winners. They'll get the money from the Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund, which is funded by the state’s coal severance tax.
Missoula County will distribute the funds from the Montana Department of Commerce’s Office of Tourism and Business Development, and the Missoula Economic Partnership (MEP) worked with the companies to get the funding.
“Consumer Direct and LumenAd are both great examples of best-fit companies who serve our community by creating high-wage job opportunities for Missoulians, and we’re thrilled that these grant awards will help them grow and thrive,” said Grant Kier, executive director of the MEP.
Consumer Direct will get $255,300 in exchange for creating 37 new jobs over the next two years. The company can use the money for the purchase of equipment, furnishings, software, construction materials and for wage reimbursement. The business also will be reimbursed up to $55,000 through the Primary Sector Workforce Training Grant program to train 11 new employees. The company provides administration and back office services for companies that provide in-home care.
“Consumer Direct Care Network is proud and thankful for the financial support from the Big Sky Trust Fund [BSTF],” said CEO Ben Bledsoe in an email. “This grant ensures that our growing company can add the sustainable jobs in Montana that allow us to serve people with long-term care needs across the country.”
LumenAd, a fast-growing company based in the Florence building in downtown Missoula, will get $195,000 to support 26 new jobs.
“We see a huge opportunity to disrupt the digital advertising industry using our technology,” said founder and CEO Ryan Hansen. “With the assistance of the BSTF program, LumenAd is well positioned to capitalize on this opportunity. It has and will continue to help us develop existing talent in the community and bring in experts from across the country to help us grow to the next level.”
To qualify for the grant funding, businesses must collect revenue from out of state and must pay at least $18.99 per hour to be eligible for the maximum BSTF job creation grant award, which is up to $7,500 per full-time job created.
“Montana’s economy continues to grow when public and private sectors come together to create jobs and provide training for workers,” said Gov. Steve Bullock in a press release. “As Montana businesses plan for long-term and sustainable expansion, we are working with them to support important economic development projects that result in new opportunities for hardworking folks in our communities.”
An ammunition manufacturing and milling company in Stevensville called Bitterroot Tool and Machine Inc. will be reimbursed up to $50,000 for creating 10 jobs, and will get $50,000 in workforce training grant funds to train the employees.