A stimulus grant of $4.7 million from the U.S. Department of Labor will fund a new program, coordinated by the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, that offers help to qualified individuals who seek to improve their employment while addressing the critical shortage of nurses.  

The Nursing Education and Placement Program will pay for tuition, books and fees for various nursing programs and provide help with job placement after graduation with participating employers. The program is targeted to the unemployed and underemployed, those displaced by Hurricane Ike, and veterans and their spouses. 

The program is a partnership among UTMB, the Gulf Coast Workforce Board, community colleges, universities and health care providers. The central goals of the program are to reduce the nurse labor shortages in high demand areas, increase the income of workers currently unemployed or underemployed and expand access to nursing career ladders. 

Qualified applicants can work towards becoming certified nurse assistants, licensed vocational nurses, registered nurses, and advance from registered nurse to a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing. The program anticipates 300 participants over the three years of the grant. 

Applicants must meet eligibility requirements and, upon completion of studies, must achieve required licensing and commit to six months of employment with a NEPP business partner or as provided by the Gulf Coast Workforce Board. 

Applications are being accepted and must be completed by Aug. 1 for enrollment in academic programs for the fall 2010 semester. Applications for the spring 2011 semester are due by Dec. 1. 

For more information about the program and requirements for eligibility and application, go to www.utmb.edu/nepp.