Hamilton area Business Selected for the 2023 MSEC Employers of Choice Award

  • — July 24 2023

MONTANA- The Montana Department of Labor & Industry announced today one Montana business in Ravalli County and two in Flathead County and are among the winners of the 2023 Montana State Employers’ Council (MSEC) Employers of Choice Award. The award is given each year to employers who demonstrate exceptional dedication to attracting and retaining workers. Bitterroot Health of Ravalli County and The Center for Restorative Youth Justice (CRY-J) & Park Side Credit Union of Flathead County are the winners this year.

“With unemployment in Montana at historic lows, it is more important than ever that employers go above and beyond to attract and retain talent,” said Laurie Esau, Commissioner of the Montana Department of Labor & Industry. “Offering competitive benefits and wages, fostering a positive workplace culture, and encouraging employee development and growth can all help employers build the workforce they need to meet their customer’s needs. Congratulations to CRY-J, Park Side and Bitterroot Health on earning recognition of their work in these areas.”

About the Winners:

Bitterroot Health in Hamilton, Park Side Credit Union in Whitefish, and CRY-J in Kalispell were chosen as the state’s best in each of three size categories. The criteria assessed included employee benefits and initiatives, leadership and workplace culture, employee training and development opportunities, and community orientation.

The largest employer honored this year, Bitterroot Health in Hamilton, is a Critical Access Hospital that has been in business for 92 years and employs 730 individuals. They are a rural, nonprofit, community hospital governed by a Board of Directors who works closely with hospital leadership.

There are 14 associated clinics offering specialty care and have new services and specialties coming to Stevensville and Darby in early 2023. Bitterroot Health (BH) has excelled and is now one of Montana's top Critical Access Hospitals in outcomes, equity, and value.

“Bitterroot Health is a great place to work in a great place to live,” said CEO John Bishop. “Over the last several years we have grown into much more than a Critical Access Hospital with services throughout Ravalli County.  Our mission of providing quality, accessible, and personalized healthcare guides us every day and is a cornerstone of our identity. We are honored to have been recognized as the employer of choice for the State of Montana.”

The Center for Restorative Youth Justice (CRY-J) is the smallest of the three employers, winning in the up-to-50-employees category. CRY-J began in 1998 in its foundational form of Flathead County Peer Court. CRY-J is non-profit organization based in Kalispell, Montana and works with agencies, institutions, and individuals in our backyard and around the nation to promote restorative responses to community harm.

“A strong culture of self-care and good communication among our small staff creates an amazing place to work, said Ben Johnson, Outreach and Development. While the employee benefits are a big part of attracting and retaining high-quality employees, our devotion to professional development helps us excel at the work we do, improve our ability to meet the needs of our participants, and grow within our roles.”

Park Side Credit Union is the mid-sized employer in the 51-150 range. Park Side started in 1965 as Whitefish Great Northern Federal Credit Union and became Park Side in 2002.  They conduct business with the Park Side Pillars: Pride – Professionalism – Passion – Purpose.

“Park Side offers an incredible benefit package as well as a culture that focuses on the employee’s needs, both in and out of the office. Leadership is incredible and they really care,” said Loan Officer Colleen Finberg.

“We introduced our Culture Compensation that offers employees the ability to bump up their base wage by living what our culture values – service to our members and each other; personal growth and development; and involvement in our communities,” said Maureen Bryan, Senior Vice President of Human Resources.

About the Montana State Employer Council

Montana State Employer Council's (MSEC) collaboration with business and community leaders across the state is supported by Job Service Employer Committees (JSECs) in local Montana communities. The council is made up of a representative from each local JSEC, serving as a liaison between employers and Job Service Montana staff. Annual meetings offer an opportunity for JSEC representatives to gather and discuss pertinent, local issues; set MSEC goals; conduct trainings; and ensure that Montana's workforce development system continues to be responsive to the needs of state employers and business communities.


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