St. Cloud Technical and Community College Receives $950,000 Federal Grant for Tuition-Free Nursing Program for Refugees

St. Cloud Technical and Community College has received $950,000 in federal funding to establish a tuition-free Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) Career Grant Pathway Program for refugees or their children in Minnesota. This program aims to address the critical shortage of healthcare professionals in the state while providing educational and career opportunities for underserved communities.

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St. Cloud Technical and Community College Receives $950,000 Federal Grant for Tuition-Free Nursing Program for Refugees

St. Cloud Technical and Community College Receives $950,000 Federal Grant for Tuition-Free Nursing Program for Refugees

St. Cloud Technical and Community College (SCTCC) has been awarded $950,000 in federal funding to establish a tuition-free Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) Career Grant Pathway Program for refugees or their children in Minnesota. The funding, obtained through Congressionally Directed Spending, will enable SCTCC to add an additional cohort to its existing Practical Nursing program, educating 54 more students over the next three years.

The college has hired dedicated faculty for this cohort and will offer supplemental instruction and other activities customized to the students' needs. All LPN students will have access to a career planner/success coach to support their progress. The 40-credit diploma can be completed in two semesters, and graduates will be eligible to take the LPN licensing exam.

SCTCC President Lori Kloos expressed appreciation to Senators Klobuchar and Smith for supporting the college's funding request. "This investment will help address the critical need for healthcare professionals in Minnesota," Kloos stated. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development projects 49,000 RN position openings in the state over the next 10 years.

In collaboration with CentraCare, SCTCC is providing additional pathways for those with refugee status, children of refugees, or resident aliens to enter the workforce as LPNs. The nursing profession ranks in the top 2% of in-demand occupations in Minnesota, with Practical Nursing having the highest projected growth rate over the next decade.

Why this matters: This federal grant and tuition-free nursing program at SCTCC will help address the critical shortage of healthcare professionals in Minnesota while providing educational and career opportunities for refugees and their families. The program's focus on supporting refugee students aligns with broader efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the healthcare workforce.

SCTCC offers various financial supports, including scholarships and tuition freezes, as well as cost-free resources like mental health counseling, tutoring, and a food pantry. The college has limited enrollment for this program and hired faculty specifically to ensure the success of the refugee student cohort. "This program allows refugees or their children to become Licensed Practical Nurses tuition-free through student scholarships," Kloos emphasized, highlighting the significant impact of the federal funding on creating accessible pathways to nursing careers for underserved communities in Minnesota.

Key Takeaways

  • SCTCC awarded $950,000 to establish tuition-free LPN program for refugees/children.
  • Program will educate 54 more students over 3 years, with dedicated faculty and support.
  • Graduates will be eligible for LPN licensing exam, addressing healthcare worker shortage.
  • Collaboration with CentraCare to provide LPN career pathways for refugee communities.
  • Program aligns with efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in healthcare.