ROCK ISLAND – State Senator Mike Halpin helped secure nearly $100,000 in funding heading to Carl Sandburg College to help increase the number of professional nurses in Illinois.

“If we want better health care access, we have to make strategic investments in the health care workforce,” said Halpin (D-Rock Island). “There is a pressing need for professional nurses in hospitals and medical centers across Western Illinois. That’s why it’s so critical we actually try to solve the issue, and not just sit on our hands.”

The Illinois Board of Higher Education awarded a total of $96,401 through a nursing school grant to Carl Sandburg College. The grant was awarded through a competitive application process where institutions submitted enrollment, retention, completion and job placement rates of their students during a multi-year period and how grant funds would be used to enhance their program’s efforts to close equity gaps and improve student success.

Nursing school grants will be used to enhance nursing programs and efforts to close equity gaps in enrollment, course completion, graduation and licensure by underrepresented students. Funds may be used for hiring additional nursing faculty and staff, developing and expanding instructional programs and modalities, expanding academic support services, improving classroom and lab spaces, purchasing equipment and instructional materials and more.

“This grant will positively affect our students in ways both in and out of the classroom,” said Dr. Emily Schaeffer, dean of nursing professions at Carl Sandburg College. “It will be used to purchase audio/video equipment and software for our simulation lab, giving Sandburg students the opportunity to experience situations they’ll encounter in health care environments. We’ll also use this grant to assist with end-of-program expenses such as fingerprinting and board exams, which will lessen the stress that students carry as they prepare to enter the workforce.”

To see a full list of nursing school grant awardees across the state, click here.