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SoutheastHEALTH Receives Rural Healthcare Training & Retraining Initiative Grant

College | Posted Friday, October 28, 2022

The Southeast Missouri Hospital College of Nursing and Health Sciences has received a nearly $1.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor for the SoutheastHEALTH Rural Healthcare Training & Retraining Initiative.

The five-year, $1,394,535 grant will allow College of Nursing and Health Sciences representatives to work with unemployment offices, county health departments, healthcare providers and high school students in 29 Missouri counties, 13 of which are identified as Persistent Poverty counties. The project includes

  • Developing core-competency programs for high school juniors and seniors and unemployed or dislocated works to prepare them for immediate job entry into the healthcare industry as a Certified Nursing Assistant, Patient Care Technician, transcription, housekeeping, food service or similar occupation within this largely rural Missouri and Missouri Ozark workforce.
  • Providing last-dollar, need-based financial support to incentivize potential workers to enter into an Associate of Science, Associate in Applied Science, Bachelor of Science or RN program that leads to credentialing and entry into the healthcare workforce.
  • Providing regional on-site staff refresher training that will result in regionally-recognized certificates in fields such as Infection Control, Healthcare Regulations, Long-term Care, Human Resources and Electronic Healthcare Records.
  • Enabling healthcare professionals such as nurses, certified nurse assistants and diagnostic technologists to apply for and complete nationally-recognized certifications to upgrade credentials, leading to career advancement in areas such as Wound Care Certification, Infection Control Certification and the like. The cost of such credentialing is often financially out of reach or not covered by the employer.

Counties included in the grant are Bollinger, Butler, Cape Girardeau, Carter, Crawford, Dent, Douglas, Dunklin, Howell, Iron, Madison, Mississippi, New Madrid, Oregon, Ozark, Pemiscot, Perry, Phelps, Reynolds, Ripley, Scott, Shannon, Ste. Genevieve, St. Francois, Stoddard, Texas, Washington, Wayne and Wright. Unemployment in these counties ranges from a low (2.9 percent) in Perry County to a high (6.1 percent) in Pemiscot.

College President Steven Langdon, EdD, AT-Ret., explains that this region lacks major population density, equitable education and training opportunities, grapples with income disparity and is challenged finding a trained workforce to fill high quality healthcare jobs driving Missouri’s Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which is designed to help job seekers access employment, education, training the support skills needed to succeed in the labor market.

“This project will result in an increased pipeline of workers, at all career stages, into the healthcare industry, help current healthcare professionals advance their careers and increase the quality of care within the rural Missouri and Missouri Ozark region,” he added.

Dr. Langdon noted that over three years, the project is expected to reach over 5,000 participants. “We wanted to find a way to expand our reach and provide healthcare education for the region. This grant will allow us to take education to these counties and connect with graduating high school students, displaced workers and professionals looking for a career, a career change or advancement in their skills. For so many individuals, this grant will be not only career changing, but life changing.”

Many community agencies and businesses greeted the initiative with enthusiasm and look forward to the opportunity to provide additional support for their communities, Dr. Langdon noted. Partnering with the Southeast Missouri Hospital College of Nursing and Health Sciences initially are Cedargate Health in Poplar Bluff, Lutheran Home in Cape Girardeau, South Central Workforce Investment Board in West Plains, Butler County Health Department in Poplar Bluff, Cape County Public Health Center in Cape Girardeau and the Cape Girardeau Chamber of commerce.

This program is financed in whole (100%) with Federal funding through an award made by the U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration in the amount of $1,394,535. This program is not financed by non-governmental sources.