CHICAGO - To prepare nursing students and increase available nursing staff in Illinois, State Senator Lakesia Collins helped to secure nearly $150,000 in funding for the University of Illinois Chicago’s readiness education program for nurses.

“We need better access to health care across our communities, and that begins with strategic investments in our workforce,” said Collins (D-Chicago). “The need for nurses in Chicago cannot be overstated; we need nurses now to help decrease the time it takes to access care, to manage the workload of current nurses, and to improve health outcomes for our community.”

The Illinois Board of Higher Education awarded a $148,967 nursing school grant to the University of Illinois Chicago. The grant was awarded through a competitive application process where institutions submitted enrollment, retention, completion and job placement rates of their students during a multi-year period and how grant funds would be used to enhance their program’s efforts to close equity gaps and improve student success.

Nursing school grants will be used to enhance nursing programs and improve enrollment, course completion, graduation and licensure by underrepresented students. Funds for UIC will be used to launch the Pre-licensure Readiness Education Program, a summer prep course for aspiring registered nurses. The readiness program is aimed at increasing student engagement, improving retention rates and boosting pass rates of the NCLEX licensing exam.

“This grant will bring a whole new advantage for Chicago nursing students,” said Collins. “Using the funds to prepare students for their career can give them the support they need to become fully licensed nurses that can get out into the workforce and assist our communities.”

To see a full list of nursing school grant awardees across the state, click here.