The Arkansas Department of Workforce Services has received a $4.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to train more than 1,500 Arkansans to become nurses.
The Department of Labor awarded the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services (DWS) and Arkansas Workforce Investment Board (AWIB) $4,952,848 for the Arkansas Partnership for Nursing’s Future project. The project will train at least 1,500 individuals for careers in the nursing profession.
The project will target qualified individuals who are on waiting lists to enter nursing programs, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families participants, unemployed and dislocated workers, and those currently working in the health care field looking to further their education and credentials, according to a DWS press release.
DWS and the AWIB will partner with UAMS, the Arkansas Association of Two-Year Colleges, Arkansas State Board of Nursing, Arkansas Hospital Association, Arkansas Health Care Association, Arkansas Chamber of Commerce and Arkansas Community Foundation to market the scholarships.
Arkansas was one of 43 grantees who received more than $183 million in federal H-1B Technical Skills Training Grants. The overall goal is to reduce H-1B visas for foreign workers by educating and training Americans to fill those jobs.
The DWS says that the number of registered nurses will increase by 27% by 2018. Industry officials say that nearly 1,500 qualified nursing school applicants are denied enrollment annually due to limited capacity.
“Clearly it’s going to take a collaborative approach like this one to address the health care workforce shortages in the state,” said UAMS Chancellor Dan Rahn, M.D. “In the last year I’ve been heavily involved in working with health care leaders in the state to identify the workforce shortcomings in Arkansas and ways to address them. The nursing profession will play a tremendous role in meeting the needs of Arkansans. We are honored to play an integral part in working as a team toward a solution by using innovative recruitment and training strategies.”
The Arkansas Association of Two-Year Colleges will coordinate the participation of statewide Associate Degree Nursing programs and recruit students.
“Like the rest of the country, Arkansas has a statewide shortage of health care workers,” said Dr. Ed Franklin, the executive director of the Arkansas Association of Two-Year Colleges. “This partnership will help two-year colleges get more people into the field of nursing, especially for rural communities with the most critical need.”