Beckley, WV – West Virginia Junior College has been awarded funds through Gov. Jim Justice’s Nursing Workforce Expansion Program, which is designed to address the state’s nursing shortage through a multifaceted approach to attract, train, and retain nurses in the Mountain State. Representing a fundamental part of this approach, an award program was established to fund nursing program expansion projects at colleges, universities, schools of nursing, and career technical education centers across West Virginia.
WVJC will use this award to expand their online Nursing program. This expansion is modeled after WVJC’s rural online Nursing program which launched in November of last year. This first-of-its-kind nursing program opened access to students in rural areas across West Virginia using a combination of online classes, collaborations with healthcare facilities, and a state-of-the-art mobile simulation lab. This new funding will allow WVJC to bring this exciting nursing education model to more regions of West Virginia. The investment is expected to support up to 200 new nursing students across the WVJC brand, 50 of which will be in Beckley.
“This innovative model breaks the traditional mold by taking education directly to where the student lives and works which provides opportunity to non-traditional students who cannot put their everyday responsibilities on hold to go to school. The model provides flexibility allowing a balance between life and nursing education,” says Chad Callen, CEO of the West Virginia Junior College school group. “We are so thankful to Governor Justice and his entire team for this opportunity and for being proactive in helping to solve the nursing shortage crisis West Virginia is facing.”
The nursing program expansion awards are administered by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission and Community and Technical College System. Twenty-six funded projects across the state were announced by Gov. Justice on March 17. Approved projects were required to be focused on increasing enrollment in pre-licensure nursing programs through innovative approaches focused on timely degree completion and licensure for graduates.
“We are tremendously grateful to Gov. Justice for providing this historic funding to support the expansion of nursing education programs across West Virginia,” said Dr. Sarah Armstrong Tucker, West Virginia’s Chancellor of Higher Education. “Through these new projects, our postsecondary education community will be better positioned to help shore up West Virginia’s nursing workforce – which, in turn, will help support our nurses working tirelessly on the front lines right now.”
Governor Justice announced the West Virginia Nursing Workforce Expansion Program in December 2021 by dedicating $48 million to support new and expanded initiatives that will train new nurses, fully fund the West Virginia Nursing Scholarship Program, value nurses already practicing in the state, and recruit nurses into West Virginia.