© 2024 KUAF
NPR Affiliate since 1985
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Arkansas to award $20 million to equip and train more nurses

Adobe Stock

The Commerce Department’s Office of Skills Development for the state of Arkansas is awarding $20 million in grant funding to train and equip more nurses. The funding comes from the federal American Rescue Plan Act. Hugh McDonald is the secretary of commerce for the state of Arkansas, he said this funding will be critical to impact the nursing shortage in Arkansas.

“At the end of the day,” McDonald said, “what we’re trying to do here is increase the number of nursing professionals, nursing apprenticeships, and increase and retain nursing educators. And, do it in a way where our employers, obviously, are going to hire them.”

The $20 million will be awarded to 19 different recipients. Those eligible include any public or private post-secondary institution providing LPN, RN and BSN degrees in the state. Each institution is also required to provide a health care partner contribution, with a two-to-one match by the state for every dollar contributed. Northwest Arkansas Community College received the largest grant in Northwest Arkansas, with more than $2.1 million awarded. Other institutions on the list include University of Arkansas Fort Smith, John Brown University, and Arkansas Tech University. Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders was also at the announcement. She says anyone in the healthcare industry will tell you that Arkansas is facing a nursing shortage.

“We need great nurses in order to have great medical facilities,” Sanders said, “but we’re not training enough of them fast enough. That is where today’s announcement comes in. The 19 2- and 4-year colleges and universities here [in Arkansas] have trained some of the best nurses in all of America.”

Governor Sanders says they estimate the United States will need nearly 300,000 new nurses by the end of the decade.

“The demand for nurses is growing faster than all other occupations,” Sanders said. The pandemic underscored the need for more nurses. This program will help fill o.ur healthcare needs. The other issue is that nurses on average make more than the typical Arkansan. This program helps us put our young people on a path to a long and stable career as well.”

The grants are aimed at increasing nursing program capacity at these institutions, professional development for current medical professionals, tuition reimbursement, lab expansion, and more.

Stay Connected
Matthew Moore is senior producer for Ozarks at Large.
Related Content