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 In a Regional Workforce Survey conducted by LEDA in 2004, healthcare was identified as having the most job vacancies in the South Plains region


The Department of Labor's Community-Based Job Training Grant

Grantee: South Plains College
Industry Focus: Healthcare
Key Partners: Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Nursing; Lubbock Christian University School of Nursing; Covenant School of Nursing; six public school districts; Area Health Education Center of the Plains; South Plains Tech Prep; LEARN Educational Talent Search; WorkSource of the South Plains/WIA Board; Lubbock Economic Development Alliance; Community Workforce Partnership; Covenant Health System; University Medical Center; Covenant Hospital Plainview; Yoakum County Hospital (Denver City); Covenant Hospital Levelland; and the Muleshoe Area Hospital District.
Grant Amount:  $1,625,313
Leveraged Amount: $2,484,256
Location of Grant Activities: Bailey, Cochran, Crosby, Dickens, Floyd, Gaines, Garza, Hale, Hockley, Lamb, Lubbock, Lynn, Motley, Terry and Yoakum counties of west Texas
Challenge: There is a critical shortage of health service professionals in the 15-county area of west Texas. The healthcare industry is the second largest non-government industry in the area, and the increased need for registered nurses and licensed vocational nurses has stretched the nursing workforce pool beyond its limit. By 2014, RN jobs and LVN jobs are expected to grow by 32.8% and 22.5%, respectively. It is difficult to attract nurses to remote areas, and local residents tend to have limited information about nursing career options. Those who do enroll in nursing programs suffer from poor retention rates. Technological changes have also created an urgency to train students to use computer-based technologies.
Addressing the Challenge: The “Training for Excellence in Nursing” program will increase South Plains College’s capacity to train, graduate, and place more LVNs and RNs in the workforce. A Center for Clinical Excellence will be developed, and an effort will be made to improve student retention and skill mastery in LVN and Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) programs through the addition of clinical simulation to the curriculum. A new retention will be implemented and will include orientation/assessment strategies for new nursing students. It will also include advising and mentoring communities for continuing students. Enrollment will be increased through improved outreach to incumbent workers and Hispanics, a retooled curriculum, and enhancement of distance learning education. 
Projected Outcomes: 
823 students will be trained
605 students will graduate, and 573 students will be licensed
Completion of LVN and ADN programs will be increased by 10% and 17%, respectively
573 students will be placed in employment within six months of completing training
514 individuals will be retained in employment.