• Montana's beer and wine distributors are major contributors to the economy, with impacts throughout the state and across industry sectors, reports the Bureau of Business and Economic Research. Because of the operations of the Montana Beer and Wine Distributors Association, Montana's economy is larger, more prosperous and more populous, write Colin Sorenson and Patrick Barkey in the most recent issue
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  • As one listens to the rhetoric regarding President Obama's power- grab as it pertains to the issue of illegal immigration, one has to wonder where thinking Democrats really are – after all, if such Presidential fiat is left to stand, what a wondrous tool for the next Republican President, not to mention the end of "rule of law" for commoners. But
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  •   When it comes to trade, who Montana's top trading partners are is usually quite a surprise. The data is hard to track but a recent research project from the Brookings Institute which mapped the direction of freight from one point to another gives some insight into where Montana gets its goods and who gets Montana exports. Understanding the movement
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  •   In an effort to increase tourism to Billings and building visibility for the community as a destination, Visit Billings takes over part of the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport this holiday season, purchasing all of the advertising space in Delta's Concourse G from November 24, through January 4. Concourse G handles both national and international passengers for Delta and will serve
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  • The Montana Women's Run announced that $100,000 is being donated to women's health and fitness programs in the Billings community from funds raised this year. This year's funds are being donated to five organizations, the YWCA, $43,000; Billings Clinic Foundation, $27,000; Rocky Mountain College Women's Cross-Country Scholarship Program, $5,500; MSU-B Women's Cross-Country and Track Scholarship Programs, $5,500; and Billings YMCA,
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  • Seafoods of the World, 5800 Interstate Avenue, is expanding their store. About their expansion Owner Dave Smith said, "It became apparent after our move into our new building 10 years ago that we would someday have to expand our facilities." The business sells wholesale and retail fresh seafood. They ship product to nine western states. Jones Construction has broken ground
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  • by Jessica Sena, Montana Petroleum Association   One of the most exciting things to take place in this country over the last few years has been the resurgence in American oil from American soil. The conversation about energy has changed from one about scarcity to one of abundance. Along with the tremendous uptick in drilling and production, has come the
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  • A familiar group of people will be providing the same services in the distribution of Chevron and Exide products, in Billings, but under a different company and in a new location. George and Lynne Fairchild, Terry Thomas and Ron Berry of the staff from the Chevron division of GM Petroleum/Pelican Oil have opened the Billings branch of Fickler Oil Company
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  • Weaver Cattle of Big Sandy was the recipient of the Family Business Award in the old business category (operating at least 50 years). The award was made during the Montana State University Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship State Farm Insurance Family Business Day, Oct. 10, in Bozeman. The land that has shaped the Weaver family was purchased in
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  • Project Meats of Billings was the recipient of the Family Business Award in the new business category. The award was made during the Montana State University Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship State Farm Insurance Family Business Day, Oct. 10, in Bozeman. Developing customer trust and confidence was what Shane and Tanya Flowers, Huntley, knew was the challenge when
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  • Nxgen Payment Services of Whitefish received the Family Business Day award in the medium business category (30-50 employees). The award was presented by the Montana State University Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship State Farm Insurance Family Business Day, Oct. 10, in Bozeman. Providing credit card processing services the company does business in a dozen states, Canada, the United
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  • Gruber Excavating of Clancy was the recipient of the Family Business Award in the very small business category (10 or fewer employees). The award was presented during the Montana State University Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship State Farm Insurance Family Business Day, on Oct. 10, in Bozeman. Gruber Excavating started in 1975 with the purchase of a dump
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Montana is one of nine states selected to receive a two-year, $300,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to help create a more highly educated and diverse nursing workforce.


According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the grants provide funds for nursing coalitions in each state to work with academic institutions and employers to help nurses earn advanced degrees. In particular, states will encourage strong partnerships between community colleges and universities to make it more efficient for nurses to transition to a baccalaureate degree and beyond. The ultimate goals are to improve patient care and help fill faculty and advanced practice nursing positions. In Montana, the goals for the first two years of the grant include improving incentives for nurses who seek additional education and removing barriers so registered nurses with associate degrees can progress toward a bachelor's degree in nursing.

The Montana grant will be made to the Montana Area Health Education Center in the MSU College of Nursing on behalf of the Montana Action Coalition. In addition to Montana, states chosen to receive similar grants are California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Texas and Washington.

The funding comes from a new Robert Wood Johnson Foundation program, Academic Progression in Nursing, or APIN, which is designed to respond to recommendations from the Institute of Medicine for improving health in the U.S.  

"The Montana Action Coalition is thrilled to have been chosen as a recipient of this grant," said Casey Blumenthal, vice president of MHA, An Association of Montana Healthcare Providers. "The goal of the Montana project is to build partnerships among nursing education and practice to help achieve the new national recommendations for nursing education."

According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, about half of nurses in the United States have a bachelor's degree or higher, but the Institute of Medicine recommends that 80 percent of the nursing workforce have bachelor's degrees by the year 2020. 

"The nation needs a well-educated nursing workforce to ensure an adequate supply of public health and primary care providers, improve care for patients living with chronic illness, and in other ways meet the needs of our aging and increasingly diverse population," said Pamela Austin Thompson, national program director for APIN, chief executive officer of the American Organization of Nurse Executives and senior vice president for nursing at the American Hospital Association. "We have great confidence in the nine states that will receive these grants to implement bold and effective strategies that will work in their states and create models that other states can utilize."

In addition to awarding grants, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is supporting "The Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action," a collaborative effort to advance solutions to challenges facing the nursing profession. The campaign is coordinated through the Center to Champion Nursing in America, an initiative of AARP, the AARP Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It supports 49 state-based action coalitions around the country that are leading the APIN work in each of the nine funded states.

APIN is run by the American Organization of Nurse Executives on behalf of the Tri-Council for Nursing. The Tri-Council for Nursing consists of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the National League for Nursing, American Nurses Association, and the American Organization of Nurse Executives, which is leading the $4.3 million, two-year initiative. 

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on pressing health and health care issues in the United States and works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, measurable and timely change. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org.


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