Through a grant from the Bower Foundation, the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi will support nursing and healthcare students at seven Mississippi colleges

Published 11:47 am Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Jackson, MS – The Women’s Foundation of Mississippi was awarded a two-year, $654,500 grant from the Bower Foundation to support creating a robust healthcare workforce in our state. The project, Graduating a Healthcare Workforce, will be implemented in its first year through an initial investment of $280,000 at seven colleges across Mississippi. The colleges include Alcorn State University, Coahoma Community College, Hinds Community College, Itawamba Community College, Jones County Junior College, Meridian Community College, and Pearl River Community College.

“The grant investments of the Bower Foundation seek to benefit health and health care in our state,” said Anne Travis, Bower Foundation CEO. “Supporting students to complete their degrees on time will help build the healthcare work force across our state, benefiting the economy and health outcomes.”

Each college will support services to nursing and healthcare-related students to assist them in finishing their degrees and entering the workforce on time. The project aims to increase the graduation rates of nursing and health-related students, who will ultimately help bolster Mississippi’s hospitals, health facilities, and medical centers.

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“At the Women’s Foundation, we have already been working with most of the state’s post-secondary campuses to support women earning degrees and certificates,” said Tracy DeVries, Executive Director of the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi. “Our years of connections and experience position us to manage this program focused on developing the healthcare workforce in our state, helping students to graduate on time and secure these much-needed jobs sooner. Our interventions allow students to navigate challenges that might otherwise derail their studies or cause them to graduate later.”

Just last year, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mississippi’s nursing shortage continued to worsen[1]. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts nursing job openings of more than 175,000 for each year over the next decade.[2] These data points emphasize the need for more skilled individuals in the health-care profession.

Research conducted by the Foundation in recent years found that women community college students take an average of seven years to complete a two-year degree.[3] The grant funds will provide participating campuses the support, emergency funding, and resources they need to help students enrolled in healthcare courses graduate on time. As a result, there will be an influx of educated nurses and healthcare professionals in Mississippi’s workforce, which will help improve the level of care for hundreds of communities across the state.

“The Women’s Foundation of Mississippi is grateful to the Bower Foundation,” DeVries said. “This is an exciting new partnership and we are ready to get to work administering these funds to increase the number of students completing their degrees and entering the healthcare workforce. Not only will we be able to bolster the healthcare profession with this work, but individuals will enter jobs that offer livable wages contributing to economic security for women and their families.”

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