Major New Nursing Workforce Funding Opportunity Closely Aligns with Campaign Goals
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has announced that it will award up to $80 million in grants early next year to expand and diversify the nursing workforce. The DOL Nurse Expansion Grant Program cites the National Academy of Medicine’s 2011 Future of Nursing report, Leading Change, Advancing Health, as a rationale for its creation and aims closely to align with goals and priorities of the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, which is working to implement those NAM recommendations. The Campaign is an initiative of AARP Foundation, AARP and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation building a healthier America through nursing.
The Labor Department states the program:
- Will address bottlenecks in training the United States nursing workforce and expand and diversify the pipeline of qualified nursing professionals;
- Places an emphasis on training individuals from populations historically underrepresented in nursing, which will also have an impact on addressing the health equity gap for those most disproportionally impacted by health disparities;
- Will incorporate diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) strategies, in which applicants propose solutions that seek to confront and remedy structural inequity issues in the nursing workforce and higher education; and,
- Requires worker-centered sector strategies driven by strong and diverse partnerships of public and private sector entities to promote systems change and empower workers based on equity, skills, and innovation.
Applicants can apply for one of two different types of grants:
- Sixty-five percent of the funds will be awarded to increase the number of nursing instructors and educators (including classroom and vocational/clinical instruction) by training new or upskilling experienced current or former nurses (including retired nurses) into advanced postsecondary credentialing necessary for nurses to become nursing instructors and educators. Former nurses are individuals who are not actively working as nurse professionals, but who have the postsecondary credentials, licensure, and years of experience that will support the transition from a health care clinician to a nurse education professional. This may include those who have recently retired or left the workforce. Applicants will propose strategies to improve nursing professional, instructor, and educator recruitment; preparation; development; training; and retention. Grants in this category will range from $2 million to $6 million.
- Thirty-five percent of the funds will be awarded to train participants as frontline healthcare professionals and paraprofessionals, including direct care workers, to advance along a career pathway and attain postsecondary credentials needed for middle- to high-skilled nursing occupations during the grant period of performance. Middle-skilled occupations are generally those that require some significant education and training beyond high school (but less than a Bachelor’s degree) such as a recognized postsecondary credential or Registered Apprenticeship Program. High-skilled occupations are generally those that require a Bachelor’s degree or higher. Grants in this category will range from $1 million to $3 million.
Applications are due January 6, 2022.
DOL has provided detailed information on the program and what is needed to apply. Below are links to these materials as well as a webinar produced by DOL further explaining the initiative.