A Lesson in Safety: MSF Academic Scholarships

Young workers are more likely than their older counterparts to be injured on the job.  Studies indicate that workers under the age of 25 are twice as likely to be injured than workers over the age of 25.  According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, about 70 teens die from workplace injuries every year in the United States. Another 70,000 get hurt badly enough that they go to a hospital emergency room.

We want every young Montana worker to work safely all day and then go home to his or her family. That is why, since 2018, Montana State Fund (MSF) has educated young workers about the importance of workplace safety before they enter the workforce.

Through our Growing a Safer Montana initiative, MSF awards academic scholarships to college students majoring in Occupational Safety and Health/Industrial Hygiene and the Construction Trade and Industry fields. At our recent virtual scholarship awards ceremony, MSF President/CEO Laurence Hubbard presented 15 Montana students with $4,000 scholarships.

“We applaud these students for taking the first step in improving Montana’s standing in the nation and look forward to working with them and their employers as an indispensable partner in achieving a safer, healthier and more prosperous Montana,” said Hubbard.

Virtual Presentation

Since the start of the program, 52 students have received the competitive academic scholarships totaling $169,500.

The scholarship application process includes taking an educational quiz after watching a short safety video, writing an essay on the importance of safety specific to the applicants desired industry, and explaining how they plan to champion safety in the future. The application requires two letters of recommendation and a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.

The 2021 recipients include:

Student Name                  College/University and Program                  

Cara O’Donnell Montana Tech- Occupational Safety & Health
Blake Nichols Montana Tech- Occupational Safety & Health
Sadiq Inuwa Montana Tech- Occupational Safety & Health
Mary India Ortgies Montana Tech- Industrial Hygiene
Layne Willis Montana Tech- Industrial Hygiene
Dylan Miller City College at MSU Billings
Transportation, Welding Tech
David Wickwire Flathead Valley Community College
Welding Fabrication (AAS)
David Jutzi Flathead Valley Community College
Welding Fabrication (AAS)
Nikolette Harshbarger Flathead Valley Community College
Welding Fabrication (AAS)
Mac Hauck Highlands College- Construction Technology & Welding
Nate Beeler Great Falls College MSU
Welding Technology & Fabrication (AAS)
Amanda Parker Missoula College U of M
Sustainable Construction
Brailynn DeMars MSU Northern
Welding Technology
Shawn Leslie Flathead Valley Community College
Electrical Technology (AAS)
Clayton Morrison Missoula College U of M
Welding Technology

The Growing a Safer Montana Program has two avenues for reaching the youth of our state. The first being the Scholarship program for those seeking higher education. The second is the PPE grants for High School students in the trades and industry classrooms.  School educators teaching construction trade and industry courses can apply for grants up to $750 that help purchase needed safety materials, equipment, or protective gear for their students.

To find out more about Growing a Safer Montana go to the scholarships and grants tab on website

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Making Contact

Providing quality customer service is our number one priority at Montana State Fund. If you ever have a question or need assistance please feel free to call a customer service specialist who will be happy to assist you.

Important MSF Contact Information

Customer Service
406-495-5001 (Direct Line to Select Service)
406-495-5006  (Direct Line to Premier Service)

Main Website Address

Safety Website Address 

Return to Work Resources/Young Worker Safety

Safety Seminars
800-332-6102 Extension 5361 (Kirk Smith)

ACE Program 800-332-6102 Extension 5292 (Rita Naylor)

Fraud Hotline 888-MTCRIME 888-682-7463