MARIETTA—WashingtonState Community College (WSCC) has been awarded more than $800,000 from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). The grant will help the college expand and strengthen its nursing programs to support the increased demand for skilled nurses in the Mid-Ohio Valley.
WSCC will begin utilizing the funds immediately as it has expanded its current Associate Degree of Nursing (ADN) program by adding a second cohort of nursing students. This means that in addition to the traditional fall enrollment, the college will also have new students enrolling in the ADN program this spring. The change will result in the college potentially doubling its output of future registered nurses (RN).
Moreover, the grant will aid in the establishment of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) that was approved by the state in the spring. WSCC Dean of Health and Sciences Dr. Heather Kincaid explained that the college is currently developing a BSN completion program that will provide a transition for current ADN students as well as support practicing RNs who wish to advance their nursing degrees.
“The ARC grant will allow us to hire additional personnel who will provide instruction and student support,” said Kincaid. “It will also help defray the costs associated with new equipment that will be necessary to support the increased enrollment.” Among the equipment the college plans to purchase will be an additional high-fidelity patient simulator which allows students to get hands-on patient experience in the safety of the classroom.
“Our coal-impacted communities are a vital part of Appalachia’s 13 states and 423 counties—when our coal communities thrive, our entire region is uplifted,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin. “This latest round of POWER grant funding will not only help struggling coal communities to once again compete in a global marketplace, but also expand support for the creation of new jobs through growing Appalachia’s food economy.”
WSCC’s nursing program, approved by the Ohio Board of Nursing, has a long history of excellence in nursing education and has consistently maintained above-average pass rates. Earlier this year, the program was ranked number one in the state of Ohio by NursingProcess.org, an independent website dedicated to providing statistics and information related to nursing education. The ADN program’s current National CouncilLicensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) pass rate is 97%, which is more than 17% higher than the national average and nearly 21% above the state average.
In total, Washington State received $803,698. The grant is one of 52 investments totaling nearly $47 million via ARC’s POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative. The congressionally funded opportunity targets federal resources to help communities and regions affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries due to the changing economics of America’s energy production. Since 2015, ARC has invested more than $366.6 million in 447projects touching 360 counties across Appalachia through the POWER Initiative. Together, ARC’s POWER investments are projected to have helped create or retain more than39,600 jobs and prepare over 100,000 workers and students for new opportunities in entrepreneurship, broadband development, tourism, and other emerging industry sectors.
About the Appalachian Regional Commission
The Appalachian Regional Commission (www.arc.gov)is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 423 counties across the Appalachian Region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia.