Leverages $870,000 in Private Funds, Reaches 26 Counties
LANCASTER, Pa., Sept. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Residents in 26 counties interested in pursuing careers in nursing will benefit from educational opportunities funded by $1.6 million in state and private sector investments, Governor Edward G. Rendell said today.
"Like many states, Pennsylvania faces a crisis in the health care industry," Governor Rendell said. "As our population ages, we need more nurses to provide the care our citizens need and deserve. We must take steps now to ensure that nurse-education programs have the facilities and faculty they need to train the future nursing workforce that the health care industry and our commonwealth's citizens will most certainly require."
"By expanding class sizes and hiring additional nurse education faculty, we can enroll and train more nurses and grow the workforce," said Department of Labor & Industry Acting Secretary Sandi Vito, who announced the state investment of $750,000 that will leverage at least $870,000 in private-sector matching funds at a press conference at the Lancaster General College of Nursing & Health Sciences. "Part of meeting Pennsylvania's health care needs is making sure that prospective nursing students have room to enroll in courses and pursue the degrees that lead to their intended career."
The Nurse Education Initiative grants help increase educational quality and enable institutions to expand their programs by providing faculty coordination and training services. The initiative also enables nursing programs to hire one faculty member who is dedicated to incorporating simulation technology into the curriculum, thereby providing the most productive and efficient use of simulation labs and increasing the number of students nursing programs can enroll.
The grants address nurse education and workforce retention challenges identified in a Pennsylvania Center for Health Careers report, which was produced by a workgroup that included representatives of hospitals, long-term care organizations, inpatient and outpatient providers, professional associations, and labor and state organizations. The group used national and state-level research to identify specific challenges facing Pennsylvania's health care industry and recommend strategies for overcoming them.
Additionally, the grants help support partnerships between health care employers and nursing education programs to add faculty and increase student enrollment. The grants provide financial incentives to health care employers to lend qualified nurses as faculty to nursing programs that demonstrate a critical need for new faculty to expand their enrollment.
The grants are part of a $2.5 million fund appropriated by the General Assembly and targeted at reducing the state's nursing shortage.
Since Governor Rendell took office, graduates from Pennsylvania's nursing programs have more than doubled. Registered Nurse graduates increased to 5,937 in 2006 from 2,939 in 2003; Licensed Practical Nurse graduates increased to 2,347 from 1,236.
More information is available online at www.paworkforce.state.pa.us under the "Governor Rendell's Strategy for Building a Skilled Workforce" quick link.
The Rendell administration is committed to creating a first-rate public education system, protecting our most vulnerable citizens and continuing economic investment to support our communities and businesses. To find out more about Governor Rendell's initiatives and to sign up for his weekly newsletter, visit: www.governor.state.pa.us.
EDITOR'S NOTE: A list of grant recipients follows.
-- $50,000 grant with $50,000 local funds; Total: $100,000 - Duquesne University - Three Rivers Workforce