Grants awarded to help meet workforce needs in Cenla.
The Rapides Foundation has awarded seven grants totaling $3,392,313 to help meet the healthcare workforce needs of employers in Central Louisiana. Grants have been awarded to four postsecondary institutions serving students in the Foundation’s service area: Central Louisiana Technical Community College, Louisiana Christian University, LSU at Alexandria and Northwestern State University.
The multi-year grants were awarded through the Foundation’s Healthcare Occupations Program, which seeks to increase the number of healthcare graduates prepared to meet the basic level of licensure or certification required by employers for initial hire of high-demand healthcare occupations.
“Access to quality healthcare services is important to reduce health disparities and improve health status,” said Joe Rosier, President and CEO of The Rapides Foundation. “We know that the shortage of qualified healthcare professionals is often cited as one of the main barriers to people receiving care. These grants will address the issue by increasing the number of health professionals who graduate and are prepared to provide critical healthcare services within the region.”
The Healthcare Occupations Program Grant supports nonprofit, accredited colleges and universities to add and expand current healthcare program offerings and concentrations to meet the critical workforce needs of local employers, and specifically addresses shortages in the three occupational fields of nursing, behavioral health and allied health.
The Rapides Foundation first offered the Healthcare Occupations Program Grant funding opportunity in 2016 as a result of its analysis of the healthcare workforce landscape in the region and awarded six grants totaling $2.1 million. After updating its healthcare workforce analysis in 2021, the funding opportunity was opened again and in February 2022 the Foundation’s Board of Trustees awarded seven grants totaling $3.4 million. This brings the total amount of grant funds awarded under this funding opportunity to $5.5 million.
The grant opportunity is offered under the Foundation’s Healthcare Access Initiative and is in support of its mission to improve the health status of Central Louisiana. Through its Healthcare Access Initiative, the Foundation addresses the supply and demand gap in the healthcare workforce and builds the capacity of regional postsecondary institutions to meet healthcare workforce needs.
The following Healthcare Occupations Program grants were awarded in February 2022:
Central Louisiana Technical Community College (CLTCC) received two grants totaling $2 million to establish the Central Louisiana Rural Nursing Network and the Central Louisiana Rural Allied Health Network. The Louisiana Community and Technical College System will provide $2 million in matching dollars from the Rapid Response Fund to support the projects.
CLTCC will lead a consortium of Louisiana Community Technical College System (LCTCS) colleges to expand and advance nursing and allied health education and training throughout the Foundation’s nine-parish service area. Partnering with CLTCC in this effort are Bossier Parish Community College, Fletcher Technical Community College, South Louisiana Community College and Southwest Technical Community College. The Nursing Network project will add a Practical Nursing evening course at the Winnfield campus, expand its LPN to RN traditional program to the Natchitoches campus and expand its LPN to RN online program to the Alexandria, Ferriday, Jena, Winnfield and Avoyelles campuses. The Allied Health Network project will focus on expanding several different allied health career programs across multiple campuses. The rural nursing network project is expected to produce 80 nurses annually and 200+ allied health graduates are expected over the term of the allied health network grant.
Louisiana Christian University was awarded $396,753 for two projects. The Social Work Behavioral Healthcare Education and Workforce Improvement Project will increase the number of Masters of Social Work graduates. Over the three years, the project is expected to graduate 75 master level social workers with a Behavioral Healthcare specialization and a commitment to work in the nine-parish service area for two years after graduation. The second project increases the number of nursing graduates by focusing on strategies to retain, graduate and prepare traditional and accelerated nursing students to pass the National Council Licensing Examination (NCLEX).
Louisiana State University at Alexandria received a grant in the amount of $223,960 to fund its ASN Accelerated Momentum for Completion and Holistic Achievement project. The project will include a three-pronged approach to providing emotional, social and academic support for students, which should lead to on-time completion of the Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) degree.
Northwestern State University received two grants totaling $771,600. One of the grants will establish a sonography education program to increase medical sonographers for high-need areas in the region. NSU’s second grant supports the intervention of at-risk students in the ASN program by providing mentoring, emotional intelligence development and student support services. The project is expected to improve the retention of ASN students from freshman to sophomore year and ultimately increase the number of nursing graduates ready to enter the workforce.
The Healthcare Occupations Program grant opportunity is currently open for new proposals with Letter of Intent submissions due by Monday, April 25. Grant and submission requirements can be found by clicking HERE