DELEG, MDCH Award Michigan Nursing Corps 2009 Grants to Nursing Schools and Hospital Partners

Contact: James McCurtis (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

March 9, 2009

LANSING - The Michigan departments of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth (DELEG) and Community Health (MDCH) recently awarded nearly $5 million in grants to nine Michigan nursing schools and two hospital partners as part of the unique Michigan Nursing Corps (MNC).

The continuation funding for the MNC will produce approximately 61 new classroom faculty and 14 new clinical instructors in a 12 to 15 month period instead of the four to six years of part-time study. The result will be the expansion of 610 new nursing seats and 156 new clinical education slots.

"Nurses and other health care professionals are critical to growing Michigan's economy and maintaining the quality of life for our citizens," said DELEG Director Stanley "Skip" Pruss. "These grants are an investment in our future by getting nurses trained more quickly so they can start their careers and earn a paycheck sooner rather than later."

Grantees include the Detroit Medical Center and Oakland Community College ($251,500), Eastern Michigan University ($634,600), Michigan State University ($1.12 million), Northern Michigan University ($570,000), Saginaw Valley State University and Covenant HealthCare ($103,000), and Wayne State University ($1.8 million).

Governor Jennifer M. Granholm established the corps in 2007 to address the nursing shortage in Michigan. The goal of the MNC is to rapidly produce nursing educators so schools can admit more nursing students. The MNC provides educational stipends and tuition to graduate nursing students. In return for this financial help, these new faculty will be required to teach in a Michigan nursing education program for five years.

"The Michigan Nursing Corps is a critical component of increasing nursing education faculty," said Janet Olszewski, director of MDCH, the partner agency with DELEG on the Michigan Nursing Corps. "Michigan needs more nursing instructors and nurses in the field and this program helps meet these needs today and in the future."

Michigan's nursing shortage is estimated to be 18,000 by the year 2015. This critical shortage is both a public health concern and an economic development opportunity for Michigan. The grants are once again aimed at preparing both nursing educational faculty and clinical instructors in Michigan. In 2007, Michigan nursing programs were unable to admit over 4,400 qualified applicants. This was due to a lack of faculty and clinical placements.

According to DELEG's Labor Market Information & Strategic Initiatives, health care professionals are among the most in demand professions in the state with an 18.9 percent job growth expected by 2012. The average hourly wage for nurses is $25.30.

It is in the state's interest to increase the number of educational and clinical nursing faculty to reduce the long wait periods currently experienced by nursing students. Ultimately, this will allow nursing students to overcome the current bottleneck in completing their education.

"Ultimately, through Michigan's No Worker Left Behind Program, displaced workers with a degree can go on to gain a second degree and quickly transition into employment as a result of their enrollment in an accelerated Michigan Nursing Corps program," said DELEG Deputy Director Andy Levin."

Some programs have as long as a 3-year waiting period for students to finish the required clinical part of their nursing education. The Michigan Nursing Corps will help to increase classroom and clinical nursing instructors in order to graduate nurses into the workforce in a more timely manner.

The Michigan Nursing Corps is currently under consideration for 2010 funding by the Michigan Legislature.