For assistance starting, growing, expanding, stabilizing, exiting, hiring, or financing your childcare business, contact Jason.

Jason joins Zero to Five Montana as our Senior Child Care Business Advisor after eight years in economic development as Vice President with the Great Falls Development Authority (GFDA) and Regional Director of the Great Falls area Small Business Development Center (SBDC). He will be delivering educational opportunities and one-on-one consultation support to entrepreneurs and communities starting, growing, and expanding childcare and early education solutions.

During his time in economic development, he advised and trained nearly 4,000 entrepreneurs and business professionals, helped start over 100 businesses, supported 2,800 jobs, and helped in attracting nearly $75M in capital investment into area businesses. Jason received two national awards during his time at GFDA. He was the 2022 recipient of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Boots to Business Instructor of the Year, a national award recognizing the top five presenters of the SBA’s Introduction to Entrepreneurship curriculum for active-duty military and veterans. In 2018, he was named the Montana State SBDC Star honoring the top 1% of business advisors in the U.S.

Prior to joining the economic development community, Jason owned two businesses and spent 16 years as a print and broadcast journalist. He is an award-winning broadcaster, native Montanan, and is a proud daughter-dad. Jason holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Political Science from the University of Montana and a master’s degree in Communication from Hawaii Pacific University-Honolulu.


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Our Team

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COMMUNICATIONS & OUTREACH COORDINATOR

Heide Borgonovo

For marketing, social media, website and outreach support, please contact Heide.
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POLICY AND ENGAGEMENT MANAGER

Alex Dubois

For questions related to early childhood community and state advocacy, other local early childhood efforts around the state, systems building, and Family Forward Montana please ...
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CHILD CARE BUSINESS ADVISOR

Kendra Edlin

For assistance starting, growing, expanding, stabilizing, exiting, hiring, or financing your childcare business, contact Kendra.
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PROGRAM COORDINATOR

Richard Heitstuman

For general support, please contact Richard.
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EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Caitlin Jensen

For overarching questions about the work of our organization, the Montana early childhood system, policy strategy, as well as general questions pertaining to government relations, ...
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SENIOR CHILD CARE BUSINESS ADVISOR

Jason Nitschke

For assistance starting, growing, expanding, stabilizing, exiting, hiring, or financing your childcare business, contact Jason.
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PROGRAM DIRECTOR

Rhonda Schwenke

For general questions regarding MT Child Care Business Connect, specific questions related to the Mentorship program, trainings and special events, or if you don’t know ...
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COMMUNITY NAVIGATOR

Shelby Whelan

For community capacity building support, community development, 1:1 support, and general questions about how to convene community efforts around child care please contact Shelby.
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