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BCBS Foundation Investing $300,000 into NELA to Address Nursing Shortage

On Wednesday, January 30, 2019, representatives from Workforce Development Board 83 joined local officials to announce a $300,000 grant from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation to address the nursing shortage in Northeast Louisiana.

Workforce Development Board 83, which has been serving northeast Louisiana’s regional workforce for the past thirty years, will use the funds to develop a collaborative pilot to train an additional 180 nursing students. Working together, local healthcare facilities and regional training providers will provide six clinical instructors to teach at nontraditional times such as evenings and weekends. The participating schools are Louisiana Delta Community College, Louisiana Tech University and University of Louisiana at Monroe.

“The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the nursing shortage will result in a shortfall of 1.2 million nurses by 2030,” said Terri Mitchell, executive director of the Workforce Development Board. “This program will allow our regional providers to accept and train more qualified applicants, enabling a greater quality of care in the region when these nurses graduate and join the workforce.”

In 2016 and 2017, the three nursing schools in the northeast Louisiana region rejected 332 applicants. Schools did not have enough teaching faulty to accept each qualified student who applied. Providing more adjunct faculty will open the pipeline for additional candidates to be trained.

Across Louisiana, patients already feel the effects of consistent vacancies in bedside nurses and specialty nurses. Healthcare facilities are seeing overcrowding in emergency departments. More nurses will yield a greater quality of care.

“This investment will support a community that has come together to make critical strides in improving quality of care,” said Michael Tipton, president of the Blue Cross Foundation. “The nurses who graduate from this program will provide an estimated additional 15,600 patient care services in the region.”

Partners in this grant project include: The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation, Workforce Development Board 83, The Living Well Foundation, NELA Healthcare Alliance, Louisiana Delta Community College, Louisiana Tech University, University of Louisiana-Monroe and regional healthcare providers serving as clinical sites.

About Workforce Development Board 83

WDB-83 was established as a non-profit in 1988 under the authority of federal legislation and now governed by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Workforce Development Board 83 serves as a strategic leader and convener of the local workforce development system supporting economic expansion and growth of the talent in the regional workforce. WDB-83 collaborates with industry, education, economic development, and other community partners to develop a viable workforce while meeting the needs of regional employers.

WDB-83 oversees WIOA Title 1 Adult, Dislocated Worker, and Youth programs in Caldwell, East Carroll, Franklin, Jackson, Madison, Morehouse, Richland, Tensas, Union and West Carroll Parishes.

About the Blue Cross Foundation

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation works each day to improve the health and lives of Louisianians by empowering everyday people to do extraordinary good. By building and funding coalitions of friends, families and neighbors, the Foundation hopes to build a healthier Louisiana, particularly for its children. The foundation is funded solely by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, but is a separate 501(c)(3) nonprofit entity. Together Blue Cross and the Blue Cross Foundation invest $3.5 million each year into Louisiana’s communities and nonprofits.

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