Business & Economy
AARP Urges Legislature to Professionalize Iowa’s Largest Workforce: Direct Care PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Ann Black   
Wednesday, 07 March 2012 08:33

Des Moines, February 29, 2012—AARP called on the Iowa Legislature to professionalize Iowa’s largest workforce - Direct Care Workers, asking the question, “Is Iowa Prepared to Care?” for our rapidly aging population during a news conference this morning at the Iowa Statehouse.

 

AARP Iowa State Director Kent Sovern urged Iowa’s lawmakers to take action and pass Senate File 2298, a bill to boost professionalism among direct care workers by establishing core state standards for training and create career pathways for advance and specialization, and creates a Board to oversee these professional standards.  “AARP is pleased and proud to champion this effort to professionalize this workforce,” said Sovern.

 

With an estimated 73,000 direct care workers in Iowa, these paid caregivers make up the largest segment of Iowa’s workforce.  Moreover, demand for direct care services is high and growing.  Iowa will need an additional 12,000 direct care workers by 2012.  High turnover is a persistent challenge.

 

AARP Iowa State President Tony Vola addressed how this legislation will meet the needs and expectations of the more than 375,000 AARP members in Iowa for quality care.  “It is interesting to note that seven years ago, 8 out of 10 AARP Iowans surveyed said it is important for Iowa to certify direct care workers, and about a quarter of them said they think these workers are already licensed.  This bill provides a great platform for training; it provides an entry for people who want to get into the profession; it provides a great acknowledgement for those who are currently in the profession, and most important, it’s just the right thing to do,” said Vola.

 

AARP volunteer Ken Crouchman of Clive whose parents are live in assisted living facilities, said staff turnover is a real concern for his family and his parents’ quality of care.  “I see the toll that this ever-changing parade of caregivers takes on my parents, and I feel the recommendations of Iowa’s Direct Care Workers will help improve their situation.  I believe Senate File 2298 will go a long way to elevate the profession and better serve Iowa’s long-term care needs.

 

Iowa’s direct care workers have taken the lead in attempting to address the challenges of turnover and quality assurance by spending the past two years developing the recommendations proposed by Senate File 2298, a groundbreaking approach unlike any other state.

 

Iowa Caregivers Association Public Policy Consultant John Hale said, “Senate File 2298 puts us on the path to providing the quality of care and services that every Iowan wants for their loved ones and for themselves.  “It’s a bill that creates a win-win-win-win: for providers of health and long term care services, for consumers who access those services, for workers who provide the service and for the taxpayers who pay a large portion of the bill.

Senate File 2298 is another example of where Iowa way out in front of the nation.  The work that’s being done in Iowa to build a bigger and better direct care workforce, and to enhance the quality of care and services for Iowans, is work that leads the nation,” Hale said.

 

Currently, Iowa has professional oversight boards and requires qualitative credentialing for all plumbers, hair stylists, massage therapists and a host of other occupations, but does not require a similar credentialing for all direct care workers.

 

“It’s time to act to give Iowa’s direct care workers the recognition and professional status they want and deserve, and to create the environment necessary for workers to meet the growing health care needs of our state,” said Sovern.  “It is time for the Iowa Legislature to support the recommendations of the Direct Care Worker Task Force and professionalize Direct Care Workers by taking action to pass Senate File 2298.”

 

About AARP
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a membership that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with over 35.1 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's millions of members and Americans 50+; AARP VIVA, the only bilingual U.S. publication dedicated exclusively to the 50+ Hispanic community; and our website, AARP.org. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

 

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Grassley asks Panetta for high-level intervention against wasteful spending PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 06 March 2012 07:51

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

 

Grassley seeks top-level review and action against defense spending waste

 

WASHINGTON -- Senator Chuck Grassley today presented Defense Secretary Leon Panetta 16 audit reports that uncovered egregious waste and misconduct at the Department of Defense and called for accountability and the recovery of wasted money.

 

With $500 billion in controversial defense budget cuts proposed by the Obama administration, Grassley said the waste identified in the reports is the perfect place for the Pentagon to begin its belt-tightening campaign.

 

“If I had two words to characterize what I found in those 16 reports, they would be ‘scandalous’ and ‘disgraceful,’” Grassley said in a letter he gave directly to Panetta during a hearing on Tuesday of the Senate Budget Committee.

 

Grassley urged the Secretary to prevent the findings and recommendations in the reports from being buried in the Pentagon bureaucracy.

 

The Budget Committee hearing focused on the President’s defense budget request for the next fiscal year.  Eight of the audit reports highlighted by Grassley pertain to contract-related issues.  The other eight zero in on wasteful stimulus-bill funded projects.

 

“The officials who are responsible for what happened must be held accountable and improper payments need to be recovered,” he said.  “Until there are meaningful consequences and real penalties for such gross waste and misconduct, the culture of the organizations involved will never change.  Unabated waste of the taxpayers’ money will continue.”

 

Grassley noted that the reports themselves cost $100 million a year to produce for the Secretary of Defense and Congress, so if the reports are ignored, the Secretary and members of Congress become party to the waste exposed.

 

The detailed letter from Grassley to Panetta can be seen here.

 

The reports identified in Grassley’s letter concerning contracts involve purchases made through the Department of Energy, spare parts pricing practices; Defense Finance and Accounting Services procedures; body armor effectiveness; the Afghan National Police Training Program; and fuel contracts in Korea.

 

The eight stimulus-funded projects described in Grassley’s letter involve a solar lighting project a the Naval Station in Norfolk, Virginia; a wind turbine project at Fort Wainwright; Air Force projects on energy efficiency; photovoltaic projects at Navy and Marine Corps bases; a geothermal energy development project at the Naval Air Station in Falon, Nebraska; and a Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning project at Naval Support Activity in Norfolk, Virginia.

 

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Jobs and Much More Through Entrepreneurship PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Elisha Smith   
Tuesday, 28 February 2012 14:33

By John Crabtree, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Center for Rural Affairs

America should empower entrepreneurs to create jobs in rural communities. Congress needs to invest in the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program to provide much needed lending capital and technical assistance to small, rural business start-ups. Likewise, Congress should enact the Rural Microbusiness Investment Credit Act to generate investment in both start-up and expanding rural small businesses by providing a 35% federal tax credit to rural entrepreneurs who invest in their own small businesses.

These proven strategies create rural jobs. And history proves that entrepreneurs can lead us out of recession, as they did last time when microenterprise employment grew by 9% nationally while big firms were shedding jobs.

But rural entrepreneurs have even more to offer. Brandon Raby, the Center for Rural Affairs 2011 Entrepreneur of the Year, learned from 20 years of skateboarding that a skate shop is a crucial element of skate culture, so he opened Caravan Skate Shop in North Platte, Nebraska.

Brandon also plays an active role in a local youth organization named “Skate and Create,” which secured $30,000 from the city to help design and construct a skate park. Caravan Skate Shop is also a place where youth can discuss skating, watch skate videos, and hang out. Brandon enjoys serving as mentor and providing skaters a place to be without negative consequences.

We celebrate entrepreneurs because of their contributions to our rural communities - jobs, revenue, economic opportunities and much more. As a nation, we should invest in entrepreneurs for the same reason.

 
Success During a Downturn: Thanks to Teamwork, Construction Company Thrives During Industry Slump PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Mark McLaughlin   
Monday, 27 February 2012 15:55
IA/IL QUAD CITIES – Bush Construction Company, Inc., has made huge strides since the firm was founded in 2008, going from zero to $18 million in revenue in its first full year of business. According to A.J. Loss, President of Bush Construction, the company has been awarded more than $60 million in projects to date. What makes the company’s growth so exceptional is the fact that it took place during a nationwide recession with an accompanying construction industry slump.
The company has succeeded in its endeavors through a collaborative approach to business, Loss stated. “Through collaborative relationships with our clients, designers and subcontractors, we have established an unconventional approach to the world of commercial building construction,” he said. “This high degree of collaboration is only possible in an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect.”
The company believes strongly in the power of teamwork, Loss noted.“By embracing a collaborative environment with our project teams,” he said, “we have been able to deliver some very complex projects on time, under budget and with happy clients.”
Providing a high level of customer service is always a top priority at Bush Construction, Loss added. “From inception to completion, each project receives the time, skills, and attention needed for success,” he said. “Clients often comment on our team’s willingness to go above and beyond expectations representing their best interests.”
Bush Construction is a general contractor, design-builder, and professional construction manager. Their team members have worked on a wide range of industrial, educational, government and commercial projects in the Quad-Cities and throughout the Midwest.
Teamwork on Behalf of the Community
Bush Construction maintained its early growth while handling a number of philanthropic projects, spending considerable time and resources in the community. Recently, Bush Construction was honored during the 23rd annual Hard Hat awards presentation. Bush received the Collette Hinrichsen Award for Philanthropy for their contributions to the Rock Island Economic Growth Corporation (RIEGC).
Bush Construction worked with RIEGC on the Jackson Square project, a brownfield area in downtown Rock Island, Illinois, that was turned into an attractive 30-unit apartment complex. Bush Construction acted as Construction Manager on the project. RIEGC, the owner of the property, attained the necessary funding for the project.
The Hard Hat awards recognize investment in the community and were presented by RIEGC, Renaissance Rock Island, The Development Association of Rock Island, and The District of Rock Island.
“The Illinois Oil Products warehouse used to operate on the property,” said Ryan Schertz, Bush Construction Superintendent in charge of the project, who was the on-site manager for all activities on the site. “The work took about 15 months. The land had environmental issues. It was a brownfield site with multiple tanks and lots of oil everywhere. There were tanks within the building as well as underground. We had chemical infiltration throughout the site that needed to be remediated.”
According to Rob Davis, Bush Construction Project Manager for the Jackson Square project, the environmental concerns were the No. 1 challenge. EnviroNET, Inc., was the environmental contractor. “Remedial action was carried out while construction was taking place, so both endeavors had to be coordinated for greatest efficiency,” Davis said. “When the project was done, we received a clean bill of health for the land. The EPA confirmed that no further action was required.”
“The community is ecstatic about the way Jackson Square turned out,” Schertz said. “It was quite a transformation.”
The success of the Bush Construction team relied strongly on the combined talents of its members, Schertz added. “The staff is highly experienced,” he said. “The team really makes a difference. What we can handle is pretty limitless for us.”
The Best People for the Best Results
According to Loss, Bush Construction is committed to finding and retaining the best staff members. “We give careful consideration to every resume we receive,” he said. “It takes the best people to bring about the best results.”
The teamwork manifesto at Bush Construction also extends to its clientele and subcontractors, Loss noted. “Building a strong customer relationship takes daily diligence, planning, care and ongoing communication,” he said. “We listen to what our clients have to say, since we are helping to build the future success of their businesses. We treat our subcontractors as team members as well by working with them in an ethical manner. Our unwavering position against bid-shopping and our commitment to ensuring timely payments to our subcontractors has reinforced these important relationships and, in turn, provided a unique market advantage. Teamwork is the key to success in construction – and really, in any industry.”
Teamwork Turns an Urban Brownfield into a Green Success

Bush Construction Company, Inc., recently received the Collette Hinrichsen Award for Philanthropy for their contributions to the Rock Island Economic Growth Corporation (RIEGC). RIEGC was the developer of the Jackson Square project in downtown Rock Island, Illinois. Bush Construction acted as the Construction Manager on the project and EnviroNET, Inc., served as the environmental contractor.
Bush Construction was instrumental in turning an urban brownfield area into an attractive 30-unit apartment complex. The site used to house the Illinois Oil Products warehouse and much work needed to be done before the property could be used as a residential area.
“EnviroNET, Inc., provided the remedial action plan, collected soil samples, did the modeling, and determined how the contaminated soil might migrate,” said Rob Davis, Project Manager for Bush Construction. “Rainwater can drive contaminants deeper into the ground. The pollutants travel below the grade and along the bedrock, and can be forced into more porous materials along the way.”
Thorough documentation of the contamination was needed. Based on the models provided by EnviroNET, plans for the ecological renewal of the property were approved by the federal and state Environmental Protection Agency.
“The contractor hauled off the contaminated soil, and work performed by Bush was scheduled around that contractor,” Davis said. “This closely coordinated teamwork allowed the project to proceed at a steady, efficient pace.”
The brownfield included underground tanks, Davis noted, so the contractor pumped the tanks dry, rendering them harmless, and then filled them with a flowable grout material. The site also included cisterns, and for those, they removed the walls to below ground level. They packed the cisterns with sand and left them in place.
“Architecturally speaking, the designs for the project were based on the existing buildings,” Davis said. “We did not want to lose the historical significance of the area. So, storage tanks were used decoratively as planters to keep the architectural heritage intact. We wanted to keep the flavor of the past and make Jackson Square a historical point of interest.”
Davis added that Jackson Square represents a major step forward for Rock Island’s downtown community. “You would never guess that this attractive residential area with green spaces used to be a brownfield,” he said. “The entire Bush team is proud to be a part of this project.”

 
Midland Communications Reports Strong Increase in Technology Investment for 2012 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Janet Dufour   
Monday, 27 February 2012 15:34
Leading Unified Communications Provider Helps Customers Position for Growth

DAVENPORT, IA - February 23, 2012 - Midland Communications, an industry leader in unified communications, announced today that the outlook for technology purchases by small to mid-sized (SMB) companies in 2012 is exceptionally positive. This outlook was confirmed by Technology Assurance Group (TAG), an international association of unified communications providers representing approximately $350 million in products and services. As a premier Member of TAG, Midland Communications is positioned as the dominant force in their marketplace and is able to better prepare and protect its customers for whatever the future holds.
Many small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are starting off the New Year by deploying advanced technology in order to secure a competitive advantage early on. Today's SMB needs to be more agile, efficient and better equipped to handle the challenges that 2012 will bring and many business owners are creating a gap between themselves and their competitors by implementing the technology offered by Midland Communications's. "Every sector is experiencing different growth rates, but when we step back and look at the big picture, it becomes clear that overall demand is up, and businesses need to have the tools necessary to gain a foothold in their industry," stated Dale Stein, Co-Founder of TAG.
Midland Communications's unique relationship with TAG, enables them to adopt cutting edge best business practices, deliver innovative programs, and partner with elite technology manufacturers and application service providers. Over the years, Midland Communications has leveraged this relationship to consistently deliver benefits to their customers that are simply unavailable to other technology providers. For example, Midland Communications is able to leverage the buying power of approximately 130 technology providers to receive deep discounts from manufacturers, and provide a lower cost to the customer. The bottom line of this partnership is that Midland Communications is better positioned to enhance employee productivity and increase profitability than any other technology provider in the market.
"We continue to be impressed with Midland Communications's stern commitment to their customers. At the end of the day, business owners are concerned with the bottom line and new technology is pointless if it doesn't increase your overall profitability," commented Stein. "Midland Communications has always focused on this fact and it shapes their recommendations and suggestions when working with their clients. As a result of this approach, their customers continue to thank them and I see a very bright future for Midland Communications," added Stein.
With growth opportunities on the horizon in 2012 many businesses are looking for ways to prepare for the large influx of sales they expect to see. This change will be driven by macroeconomic factors, but will be sustained by a business's ability to keep up with demand. Many businesses are investing heavily in technology and enlisting the help of elite technology providers like Midland Communications to make sure that whenever that wave of sales arrives, they're ready to ride it all the way to the bank.

ABOUT MIDLAND COMMUNICATIONS

.Midland Communications began more than 60 years ago in 1946 as the Worldwide Marketing Arm of Victor-Animagraph Projectors. In 1977 a communications division was formed due to a partnership with NEC America. Today, As a distributor of NEC America, for 33 years, Midland Communications has a customer base of more than 3,000 satisfied customers that include general businesses, government agencies, Universities, colleges, hospitals, and hotels.
Midland provides a wide range of communication services including VOIP, PBX and key systems, Wide Area and Local Area networking, computers, Computer integration, voice mail, CCIS, and video conferencing and paging systems. Our philosophy is simple, provide quality products at a fair price, backed by an average emergency response time of twenty minutes, and the best service in the industry. For more information on Midland Communications, call (563) 326-1237 or visit www.midlandcom.com.


ABOUT TECHNOLOGY ASSURANCE GROUP (TAG)

Technology Assurance Group, LLC (TAG) is an international organization of leading independently owned business communications companies. TAG provides its members with the competitive advantages necessary to achieve a dominant position in their marketplace. Members benefit from programs including strategic partnerships with communication solution providers, best business and management practices, and advanced sales training programs.  TAG's mission is to increase its Members' sales and profits through education and to ease their introduction of new technology to the marketplace by leveraging their combined intellect and purchasing power. For more information on TAG, please call 858-673-5800 or visit www.tagnational.com.


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