Delaware nursing students are reaping the benefits of a federal grant aimed at helping them complete their degrees or pursue advanced degrees.
The Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant Program was funded in 2010 with $2 billion over four years as part of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act.
The main purpose is to put people back to work.
“The nursing and math programs I observed at Delaware Tech in Georgetown are exactly the kind of job-focused training we need at a pivotal time for job creation here in Delaware and around the country,” said Sen. Thomas Carper, who recently toured the facility. “It is imperative that we continue to support common sense programs like this that are based on forecasts for specific industry needs and reinforced with commitments from employers to consider hiring graduates.”
At Delaware Technical Community College, the funding has provided degree programs in renewable energy, information security, food safety, manufacturing and nursing so that students can leave and move into the workforce.
“There are many initiatives to put people back to work, not necessarily healthcare related,” said Kelly Davis, project manager for the nursing grant money.
The school has received three installments of the grant starting with $4.9 million in 2011 followed by $2.5 million in 2012 and 2013.
Julia Seeley, nursing chair at DelTech’s Owens Campus, said the $2.5 million nursing portion provides funding for an accelerated program that allows nursing students to obtain certification and licensing needed in the area’s healthcare industry. Students can become certified nursing assistants, limited practicing nurses or registered nurses through the accelerated program, she said.
“The majority of students would like to take the accelerated program,” she said. “They want to move through it and get a job.”
Seeley said about 95 percent of graduates find employment within six months of graduation.
With the influx of healthcare jobs in the area, the demand for nursing and healthcare professionals has increased. DelTech’s nursing program has grown from 354 in 2003 to 855 in 2013.
Most find employment at Beebe Healthcare, Nanticoke hospital, in the Bayhealth medical system or at homecare and longterm healthcare facilities in the area, Seeley said.
“There’s definitely a need for healthcare,” she said. “I don’t see the need dropping.”