Commerce Awards 12 Production Assistant Scholarships to Montana Tribal Members

PA class in Polson HELENA, Mont. -- The Montana Department of Commerce, in partnership with Accelerate MT, has awarded twelve scholarships to Montana tribal citizens in the first round of the Production Assistant (PA) Training and Certification Program. Scholarships cover the cost of tuition. The training is a two-day course offered in-person or on-line; 68 scholarships remain. The second round award cycle is now open and accepting applications.

“At Commerce, we will continue to support the growth, sustainability and success of Montana’s expansive and diverse economy, and that includes providing more opportunities for tribal citizens in our state,” said Scott Osterman, Director of the Montana Department of Commerce. “The PA Training and Certification Program can help create real-world job opportunities for tribal citizens in the commercial media and film industry and can help strengthen the local economies in Montana’s Indian Country.”

The first in-person comprehensive training session was held in Polson last month. Lynn-Wood Fields of Accelerate Montana led the in-person course, which saw active participation from five tribal scholarship recipients. Fields expressed her enthusiasm for the program, saying, "This first course in Polson was a fantastic experience, and I thank Nova Vento for hosting us at their beautiful production space on the Flathead Reservation. The students were so engaged and are an incredibly talented group of graduates.”

Fields further reported that the students were given the unique opportunity to shadow a short film project currently in production as a part of their course training; mentorships of this kind are expected to continue for the other in-person classes being held across the state.

One awardee and graduate of the in-person course in Polson was Charles Wells, a member of the Chippewa Cree Tribes of Rocky Boy’s. “The Film Production Assistance class is exciting, refreshing and educational, which can lead to new opportunities,” Wells said.

Among the twelve scholarship recipients in round one, various Montana tribes were recognized. Four recipients hailed from the Confederated Salish, Kootenai and Pend d' Oreille tribes; four from the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of Fort Peck; two from the Chippewa Cree Tribes of Rocky Boy's; one from the Crow Tribe; and one from the Northern Cheyenne Tribe. Those who opted for the online training option will have 60 days to complete the course, with access to support staff to ensure their success in passing the certification test.

Round two of the scholarship application is open now until noon on October 6, 2023. Up to five awards per tribe will be distributed; some awards will be held in reserve for round three. Currently, there are 68 awards available: Ten for the Blackfeet Tribe, Little Shell, Assiniboine and Gros Ventre Tribes of Fort Belknap; nine for both the Crow and Northern Cheyenne; eight for the Chippewa Cree; and six for both the Confederated Salish, Kootenai, Pend d' Oreille and Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of Fort Peck.

To be eligible, applicants must be enrolled members of a Montana tribe and be 16 years old or older. Applicants must establish a free account at and complete the application. Notifications will occur on October 7, 2023. If the number of applicants from a tribe exceeds five, a random drawing will take place to select the five awards for round two. Any applicants not chosen in round two will automatically be entered into the round three award cycle.

For more information, contact Tribal Tourism Officer Rachelle Brown at the Montana Department of Commerce at or 406.841.2734.

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