• Montana is a state rich in natural energy resources. The eastern part of the state has greatly benefitted from the American energy revolution reports the US Chamber of Commerce’s Energy Institute on its new webpage. The webpage — http://www.energyxxi.org/states/ — measures how states compare on energy, showing where each state ranks in energy production (Montana ranks 21st) and facts about how the
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  • By M.D. Kittle, Watchdog.org While the domestic spying National Security Agency has been under the red-hot political spot light, another quasi-governmental agency has quietly gone about the business of collecting nearly 1 billion U.S. credit card records without consumer consent. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, CFPB, unlike the NSA, operates with no congressional oversight and with little public transparency, even
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  • Oil producer Hess Corp has turned to a manufacturing process developed by automaker Toyota Motor Corp to cut costs and boost production as crude oil prices lag, according to a Reuters report. Deploying a process called Lean manufacturing, and used by only a handful of other oil producers, the move has shaved roughly $400,000 off the cost of each North
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  • A company called Enell, Inc. has quietly been doing business in Havre, Montana, serving an international market for the past 22 years. Like so many successful companies, ENELL serves a niche market – one ignored by the big companies catering to the mainstream. ENELL makes sports bras for well-endowed women. Perhaps, not surprisingly, the company’s evolution has paralleled the entrance of
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  • Caterpillar Oil & Gas announced that Caterpillar has made an equity investment in Billings-based company, GTUIT, a manufacturer of mobile gas treatment systems. The companies plan to collaborate to deliver equipment to reduce flaring and emissions from flaring gas in the process of oil production. Brian Cebull, President and CEO of GTUIT stated, “As a result of the Caterpillar investment,
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  • Billings business owner Rich Naylor has been named Small Business Person of the Year in the small business category by the US Small Business Administration in Montana. He owns My Handyman Service & Construction, Inc., Billings. Two other Billings businesspeople are in the list of award winners announced by the SBA. They include Haley Vannatta, owner of Yellowstone Valley Women’s
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  • Electric generation companies, such as Yellowstone Valley Electric Cooperative (YVEC) are “under attack,” according to Anita Decker, CEO of the Northwest Public power Association, of which YVEC is a member. At risk is the YVEC mission of providing customers with “the lowest cost, highest value investment,” said Decker, who spoke before the annual meeting of the YVEC on last week
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  • In the coming year local employers say they expect to hire 1000 new employees. That reflects a $42 million increase in wages for Yellowstone County. Will they be able to find the workers? Unlike many areas of the country, Billings and Yellowstone County face a labor shortage, a problem which if not addressed could negatively impact local business growth and
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  • If you want to reduce employee turnover in your business, fire mangers who are jerks. That’s the advice of Dick Finnegan, who was keynote speaker at the BillingsWorks Workforce Council luncheon. Finnegan is a nationally-recognized consultant on workforce retention and author of “Rethinking Retention in Good Times and Bad,” and of a forth coming book, “The Power of Stay Interviews
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  • It looks like the vision for a new restaurant in downtown for the Howard Shen and Tina Wu is becoming a reality. They plan to open Wild Ginger Steak House by late June on the ground floor of the new Empire Parking Garage on Montana Avenue between North 28th and North 27th Streets. The husband and wife entrepreneurial team are
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  • Building a convention center in Billings would cost in the neighborhood of $60 million, and require almost $700,000 annual subsidy. But, such a facility could turn Billings’ prospects around from possibly losing 25 percent of its convention business by 2020, to more than tripling it. A convention center would increase the economic impact of conventions held in Billings by about
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  • The goal for Jefferson Bus Lines is to open a new bus station in downtown Billings by July, according to company President Steve Woelfel. Woelfel announced last week that the Minneapolis-based company has purchased the former Underriner building at Fourth Avenue North and 18th Street North, to serve as their future headquarters in Billings. The new location allows the company
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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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