In total, 17 grants have been awarded to certain community colleges, universities, health networks and emergency services companies to help fill gaps in the healthcare workforce.
The Mississippi Nursing Allied Health Grant Program (Senate Bill 3113) was created during the 2023 Legislative session as part of an investment through American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars. The goal was to alleviate some of the current strain on the state’s healthcare system while filling gaps in the workforce.
In total, 17 grants have been awarded spanning from community colleges, universities, health networks and emergency services companies. These grants will directly aid in sustaining services. The funds will also increase the capacity of nursing, allied health, and paramedic training programs.
The grants are being distributed by AccelerateMS.
“This funding will create new capacity in critical allied health programs to train Mississippi’s healthcare workforce,” said Courtney Taylor, Deputy Director of Strategy & Programs at AccelerateMS. “These grants will pave the way for new entrants into the healthcare field that will provide a critical workforce for our future.”
The largest grant was awarded to Jones College for their Allied Health and Nursing program at $1.8 million. Other grants were awarded to the Baptist Memorial College of Health Sciences, Mississippi Delta Community College for practical nursing, Pearl River Community College for paramedic services, and Singing River Health Systems for a licensed practical nursing apprenticeship.
“Retention success has always been a passion of mine, and I am thrilled to see how we can impact undergraduate nursing as well as build resiliency in our nursing workforce,” said Dr. Brandy Larmon, Dean for the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at the Mississippi University for Women. She said the grants will go toward the hiring of undergraduate nursing success and wellness coordinator that will assist in retention efforts in the school’s nursing programs.
In their research, Deputy Director Taylor said the data shows the importance of in person, human-to-human teaching. She added in a previous discussion that the group is also focused on connecting students with jobs they can obtain without being forced to choose between work and school.
Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann was pleased to see the funds distributed for their intended use. He’s traversed the state over the past year, visiting from health systems and talking with hospital leaders. Hosemann is working to find ways to encourage more healthcare workers to enter the field.
“This year, we have visited dozens of Mississippi hospitals. All of them are struggling to find qualified workers including nurses, doctors, and other healthcare professionals,” said Lt. Governor Hosemann. “The intent of this legislation was to increase the number of seats in our community colleges and universities to help train more students for meaningful careers at our hospitals and clinics.”
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