BOZEMAN, Mont. – Bridger Aerospace and Montana State University’s Gallatin College will offer a new hands-on avionics program to recruit and hire the growing need for skilled workers in Montana.

Gallatin College Outreach Project Manager Anna Reardon said classes will start Fall 2022 for the two-year program for around a dozen students interested in gaining hands-on experience with a local growing business with expertise in the avionics industry.

“Not only will it help our local community with all of the flights coming in with tourism and people moving here but it’s also a great job opportunity for community members with learning specific skills that they can take anywhere but also to earn a great wage and stay here in Montana,” Reardon said.

Bridger Aerospace Senior Vice President Steve Zinda said they initially reached out to Gallatin College because they continue to see tremendous growth and needs for skilled workers in their industry, specifically aviation technicians.

Bridger Aerospace agreed to donate $100,000 and the training space to start the program in avionics and gadgets they currently use will also be incorporated into existing Gallatin College photonics programs which involve the aircraft’s electronic systems of communications and navigation.

The Belgrade aerial firefighting company started in 2014 and now has contracts with the U.S. Forest Service and state agencies with more than 150 people and plans to build a new hangar this year and keep expanding their aerial firefighting fleet.

Reardon and Zina both said aviation technicians' salary can range anywhere from $30,000 to $60,000 right out of college and pay will only increase with more experience.

Gallatin College MSU is allowing students to apply now for the Fall 2022 course here and you can learn more about their aviation electronics technology here.

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