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$5 million federal grant awarded to Ohio University nursing program

Initiative aims to train 204 nurses for medically underserved rural region

Ohio University’s School of Nursing has been awarded a nearly $5 million federal grant to train unemployed nurses and those seeking to increase their credentials.

The School of Nursing will use the $4,989,080 from the U.S. Department of Labor to pay tuition and administrative costs for training 204 students in its associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. Three-quarters of these applicants will be people who have been unemployed for six months or more.

Job creation has been slow in many urban and rural communities, which also has led to prolonged unemployment, said Mary Bowen, professor of nursing, who developed the grant in collaboration with Deborah Bingham Catri, director of graduate outreach for the University’s online and regional campus programs.

“At the same time, there are still skill shortages in some industries and occupations such as nursing, and this grant creates an opportunity to address both issues,” said Bowen, also a special assistant to the dean of the College of Health Sciences and Professions. “The project will collaborate with local and regional employers to bring employment opportunities to the medically underserved region of southeast Ohio.”

The School of Nursing, housed in the College of Health Sciences and Professions (CHSP), is Ohio University’s fastest-growing academic unit, with a total of nearly 7,000 students enrolled in its online programs and at the university’s campuses in Athens, Zanesville, Chillicothe and Ironton. The school began offering a Bachelor Science in Nursing in 2009 – the first four-year nursing program in southeast Ohio – and this year is rolling out an online master’s degree.

“As a result of this grant, the School of Nursing will be able to contribute to increasing the nursing workforce and increasing the knowledge and skills of nurses already in practice who wish to practice in advanced roles,” said Deborah Henderson, interim director of the School of Nursing.

The Ohio University nursing grant, to begin this month and be spread over the next four years, is part of a $183 million federal outlay aimed at providing education, training and job-placement assistance in high-growth fields such as health care. Southeast Ohio is expected to add 700 nurses between 2008 and 2018, a 23-percent increase, according to a forecast by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.