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Great River Health Foundation Grants SCC Up to $10 Million

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On Wednesday, Great River Health announced a new partnership to expand Southeastern Community College’s nursing program to help meet the critical need for nurses. It will be funded by a grant of up to $10 million from the Great River Health Foundation.

The nursing partnership will create a stronger future for nursing and higher education in southeast Iowa and enhance the health care workforce. The money will be distributed over five years to help SCC expand faculty and related student support positions plus provide tuition assistance to students entering the nursing program.

“This gift will allow us to allocate considerable resources toward the nursing program to position us for growth that we otherwise wouldn’t be able to make,” said SCC President Dr. Michael Ash. “We are grateful to the Great River Health Foundation.”

The donation is the single largest gift in SCC history. It comes in addition to Great River Heath’s $1 million gift that funded the construction of the College’s Health Professions Center, which opened in 2016.

“The Great River Health Foundation is Great River Health’s newest endeavor to help the communities we serve,” said Great River Health President and CEO Matt Wenzel. The foundation joins us in our vision of empowering people, transforming lives and fulfilling dreams.”

Great River Health Foundation Executive Director Jason Hutcheson said: “SCC has been a key partner in providing well-educated nurses for decades. This partnership strengthens both institutions. More students can enter the nursing program and complete their studies, and the health system will have an enhanced pool of skilled caregivers with roots in southeast Iowa.”

Labor market data shows there are over 300 nurse positions open annually within a 50-mile radius of Burlington with a median salary of nearly $63,000.

SCC’s nursing program consistently receives high marks for quality, and its students regularly outperform their peers from nursing programs across Iowa and the nation.

“Nursing school is not easy, and not everyone is able to complete it,” said Kristi Schroeder, SCC Dean of Health Professions and Director of Nursing. “One benefit of these nursing program enhancements is that students who choose to participate will have additional resources to help them succeed.”

Students will have access to a dedicated nursing tutor for help with coursework and a student success advocate who will help guide them through the program and keep them on the path to graduation.

Financial support may also be available in the form of supplemental scholarships and grants. Students will also have preferred status when applying for positions at Southeast Iowa Regional Hospital campuses in Fort Madison and West Burlington, and Henry County Health Center in Mount Pleasant.

Details of individual student financial and personal support are still being finalized. Organizers plan to hire an associate dean of nursing, a nursing tutor, student success advocates in the coming months with additional staff coming onboard within one year.

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