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Shelia Cherfilus-McCormick, Juan Ciscomani Offer Bill to Expand Support of Community College Nursing Programs

Last week, U.S. Reps. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, D-Fla., and Juan Ciscomani, R-Ariz., brought out a bill to “support additional funding for nursing programs at community colleges.”

Ciscomani introduced the “Grants for Resources in Occupational Workforce Training for Healthcare (GROWTH) Act” which “expands eligibility to the Nurse Education, Practice, Quality, and Retention (NEPQR)—Pathway to Registered Nurse Program (PRNP) grants under the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to include community colleges” and “would also prioritize allocating up to 50 percent of total funds to community colleges or partnerships with community colleges.” Cherfilus-McCormick is one of five co-sponsors.

“As a proud graduate of Pima Community College, I know how crucial these institutions are to students, the workforce, and our communities,” said Ciscomani. “These students should have the same opportunities and funding as their counterparts at a 4-year university. This bill strengthens our nursing workforce while improving the programs offered by our community colleges.”

“The national nursing shortage has hit health facilities hard and compromised access to quality care,” said Cherfilus-McCormick. “That is precisely why we must make it easier for community college students to pursue a successful career in nursing, without worrying about financial hurdles. I am proud to introduce the bipartisan GROWTH Act, which will bolster our healthcare system and address this critical workforce shortage.”

The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) and Families USA are backing the proposal.

“Community colleges make an essential contribution to the country’s nursing workforce, conferring 75 percent of all associate nursing degrees in 2019-20,” said Dr. Walter Bumphus, the president and CEO of the AACC. “The community colleges’ highly qualified graduates work across the nation contributing greatly to local and regional workforce pipelines while earning family sustaining wages. These community college nursing programs play a critical role in the nation’s workforce but receive virtually no funding through the basic federal nursing program. This important legislation would help these colleges secure badly needed resources to support and expand these costly educational programs while helping to broaden the nation’s nursing workforce and enhance patient care.”

The bill was sent to the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee. So far, there is no companion measure over in the U.S. Senate.

Author

  • Kevin Derby

    Originally from Jacksonville, Kevin Derby is a contributing writer for Florida Daily and covers politics across Florida.

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