Bipartisan lawmaker duo introduces legislation to support more funding for community college nursing programs

Reps. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (D-Fla.) and Juan Ciscomani (R-Ariz.) introduced a bipartisan piece of legislation to support additional funding for nursing programs in community colleges.

Grants for Resources in Occupational and Workforce Training for Healthcare Act of 2023 — or the Growth Act of 2023 — expands eligibility to the Nurse Education, Practice, Quality, and Retention (NEPQR) — Pathway to Registered Nurse Program (PRNP).

Specifically, the bill would expand the guidelines under the Health Resources and Services Administration to include providing grants to community colleges.

“The national nursing shortage has hit health facilities hard and compromised access to quality care,” Cherfilus-McCormick said in a statement. “That is precisely why we must make it easier for community college students to pursue a successful career in nursing.”

Currently, most health resources grants go to four-year colleges and universities. The bill introduced by Cherfilus-McCormick and Ciscomani would allocate at least 50 percent of funding to go to community colleges or places that have partnerships with community colleges.

“As a proud graduate of Pima Community College, I know how crucial these institutions are to students, the workforce, and our communities,” Ciscomani’s statement said. “These students should have the same opportunities and funding as their counterparts at a 4-year university.”

Several other members have joined the bipartisan legislation. Reps. John James (R-Mich.), David Trone (D-Md.), Jen Kiggans (R-Va.) and Marie Glusenkamp Perez (D-Wa.).

At least 25 members of Congress attended or graduated from a community college, the joint statement said.

“As the country continues to face a nursing shortage, community colleges have been found to be one of the most instrumental institutions in training and education health care workers,” the statement said.

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