Browning Welcomes 22 New Certified Nursing Assistants

  • — June 28 2023

Montana Department of Labor & Industry spearheads partnership to train health care workers

BROWNING, Mont. – A public-private partnership led by the Montana Department of Labor & Industry graduated a cohort of 22 new Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) in Browning this month, following training in an intensive, affordable, two-week course held at Blackfeet Community College. The partnership, which included the College, the Montana Health Network, the Montana Area Health Education Center, and other community stakeholders, launched the training program to address critical needs for health care workers in the Browning area and on the Blackfeet Reservation. The program brought together these partners to provide training, funding, and employment opportunities for the new CNAs.   

The CNA training was conducted by Julie Russell from the Montana Health Network, Rayola Grant of the College and Lonna Crowder of the Montana Area Health Education Center. Need-based financial assistance was provided to participants to help cover the cost of attending. At the end of training, 22 new CNAs were tested and certified, growing the healthcare workforce in the Browning area. These new CNAs will help multiple healthcare facilities in the region meet their workforce needs.

“Montana faces a shortage of skilled health care workers, and nowhere is that shortage more acute than in our rural, tribal and frontier communities,” said Laurie Esau, Montana’s Commissioner of Labor & Industry. “These skilled, certified workers will make an immediate and valuable contribution serving patients in the Browning community.”

“The CNA Class held in Browning at the Blackfeet Community College was made possible by many partners working together, and that is what healthcare is all about. Working together for the good of those in need, and all Montana communities are in need of healthcare staff who can deliver high quality care”, said Julie Russell of the Montana Health Network.

“The instructor was always prepared and there early and late in the day. She was very knowledgeable and hands on, always made sure our work on paper and in the lab was very well done. I am whole heartedly grateful for having such a awesome instructor”, said Lacee Carlson, a CNA student who completed the training.

The project was spearheaded by the Department of Labor & Industry’s Business Engagement team. The group works with Montana industries and employers to develop workforce solutions and meet skilled labor needs. The Department intends to use the success of the pilot program in Browning as a model for other similar training partnerships across Montana.

“By bringing together industry partners, stakeholders, educators and other community leaders, we can find innovative ways to upskill workers and help employers meet their workforce needs,” Commissioner Esau said.


Contact Sam Loveridge: Public Information Officer, Department of Labor and Industry
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