Crowder College to start nursing program in Cassville

Thursday, March 20, 2008

After several years of planning, the Crowder College Cassville campus has received a "green light" to begin taking the steps to start its own associate degree in nursing program in Cassville.

This past week, it was announced that Crowder College had received a $1.4 million grant through the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Division. The grant program is aimed at helping develop and implement training programs for individuals seeking employment in rapidly growing healthcare-related fields.

Specifically, the grant money will be used by Crowder College to increase the number of its nursing graduates at its Nevada campus to 50 per year and to develop an associate degree in nursing at the Cassville campus to serve 25 students a year. In addition, the funding will be utilized to create an associates of applied science degree in health occupations at Crowder.

The demand for registered nurses is growing in southwest Missouri. It is anticipated that job demand in this field will grow by 25 percent over the next two years.

According to Angela Seymour, director of the Crowder College Cassville campus, the first step in getting an associate of nursing degree program started in Cassville will be to send off a letter of intent to the State Board of Nursing. Once that is received, a formal proposal for a nursing program at Cassville will be submitted.

"The state will need to grant us permission to become a nursing program," said Seymour. "The grant is our official green light."

Once the program receives approval, a local director will have to be hired.

Seymour said the proposed program has been well received by area hospitals, who will be providing support in the area of clinical observations.

The need for an associate degree in nursing at the Cassville campus is well documented, according to Seymour.

"We have a lot of students who attend classes at the Cassville campus who are pre-nursing majors," said Seymour. "It's one of the strongest majors here at this campus. There is also a strong projected job growth in nursing in Barry and Lawrence counties.

"As a community college, it's our job to meet the needs of the community, and this was a great need," added Seymour.

Successful completion of the nursing program will lead to high paying jobs for graduates. Once a student receives their associates degree, they will be prepared to sit for the state boards to become a registered nurse.

"Based on submitting our petition to the state, if everything flows smoothly, our first set of nursing classes would start in the fall of 2009," Seymour said. "This will be good timing because we should be in our new building by then."

Seymour advises students who think they are interested in pursuing an associate in nursing degree to enroll this summer or in the fall. The nursing program is a two-year program in addition to at least one year of prerequisite classes.

Initial enrollment in the program will be limited to 25 students. Potential students must apply to be admitted into the competitive degree program.

On Tuesday, Gov. Matt Blunt applauded Crowder College and its regional partners for earning the competitive $1.4 million federal grant.

"I commend Crowder College for their commitment to expand access to healthcare studies," Gov. Blunt said. "Missouri students will benefit

from increased access to the health-related professions, and all Missourians will benefit through a greater supply of health professionals."

Nearly 400 applicants applied for only 69 grants available through the Community Based Job Training Grant Competition.

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