The Shapiro Administration Monday said nearly $504,000 in grants is available to increase the number of nurses in communities most impacted by COVID-19.
The Nursing Pathway Apprenticeship Industry Partnership program, an earn-as-you-learn apprenticeship career model, is funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and supported by state Sen. Maria Collett’s, D- Montgomery, Nursing Workforce Initiative (NWI).
“Pennsylvania’s health care industry continues to face significant and ongoing challenges, particularly with an unprecedented shortage of nurses,” state Labor & Industry (L&I) Acting Secretary Nancy Walker said. “This grant program is a commonsense solution to not only help address critical workforce shortages, but it will help create equitable access to opportunities that build meaningful careers and contribute to a strong economy, while eliminating barriers to quality, family-sustaining employment.”
Pennsylvania hospitals are grappling with maintaining adequate staffing levels for qualified nurses. A December 2021 survey by the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP), updated in February 2022, revealed high vacancy rates across various nursing occupations, illustrating the continued need for urgent action, the Shapiro Administration said.
In September 2021, Collett introduced the NWI initiative to support and retain nurses across the Commonwealth amid the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. L&I dedicated ARPA funds to the NWI initiative, allowing the department’s Apprenticeship and Training Office (ATO) to administer funding to registered apprenticeship and industry partnerships within underserved communities across the Commonwealth.
The department said it is seeking partners to create a new apprenticeship model specifically designed for and targeting underserved populations.
In February, the administration awarded $700,000 in first-round grants to three Nursing Pathway Apprenticeship Industry Partnership programs.
With this second round of Nursing Pathway Apprenticeship Industry Partnership grant funding, local workforce development boards can continue to offer in-demand training for individuals interested in becoming home health aides, certified nursing assistants, and licensed practical nurses.
Competitive grants up to $250,000 will be awarded per application for programs with a single-county or localized reach, while grants up to $350,000 will be awarded per application for programs with a statewide or multi-county reach (three or more counties).
Priority consideration will be given to programs developed in and provided to low- or moderate-income communities. This opportunity is 100% federally funded with Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds established under the American Rescue Plan Act.
The deadline to apply for grant funding is May 10, 2023. More information about the Pennsylvania Nursing Pathway Apprenticeship Industry Partnership grant availability is available on L&I’s website.