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August 15, 2006
Gwinnett Technical College Gets Grant to Expand Nursing Programs
College's additional program addresses critical demand for RNs by training new grads, enabling others to re-enter healthcare workforce
Gwinnett Technical College has received a grant from the Department of Technical and Adult Education (DTAE) that will allow the college to expand its registered nursing programs and address the growing shortage of RNs in Georgia.
The demand for nurses in Georgia and the nation will grow faster than most other occupations well into the next decade, yet healthcare providers are increasingly reporting difficulty in attracting and retaining qualified RNs. They cite an aging workforce and lack of younger workers, plus the loss of RNs who take a leave of absence from the profession and then are reluctant to return due to the time and expense required for reinstatement of their nursing license.
Gwinnett Tech's President Sharon Rigsby says that "registered nursing is one of the occupations expected to have the most job growth in Gwinnett County and surrounding metropolitan areas during the next 10 years. This grant - and this addition to our health sciences program - enables Gwinnett Tech to better meet the workforce needs of our fast-growing healthcare community and expands our role in educating highly trained healthcare professionals."
Athens Technical College received $90,000 to expand its Accelerated Associate Degree Nursing - Summer Option (AADN-SO) to the Gwinnett Tech campus. AADN-SO allows a licensed practical nurse to condense the first three quarters of an RN program into a summer-long "bridge" format of classes, exams, skills laboratory check-offs and clinical evaluations. The LPN is then mainstreamed into the second year of the two-year RN degree program. The AADN-SO at Gwinnett Tech will fast-track an additional 10 nurses to graduate with RN degrees in June 2008.
Governor Sonny Perdue noted the importance of training and retaining more qualified nurses through these grants.
"Nurses are a critical part of Georgia's health care system," said Governor Perdue. "We must ensure that we have enough capacity to train the new nurses that we need, and also create working conditions that will cause them to want to remain in the profession, and in Georgia. DTAE's grant funding is a great start."
Various recent reports have all agreed on the strong need for more RNs in the coming years. One, by the Georgia Department of Community Health, estimated that unless more nurses are added to the workforce, the shortage of RNs could increase to 23 percent by 2010. The same report said the deficit could increase to 40 percent by 2020 as emerging health care demands grow.
"Our desire is to continue to develop and add to our nursing programs so that we can work to place sufficient numbers of well-trained, highly skilled nurses into Georgia's healthcare workforce," said DTAE Commissioner Michael Vollmer.
Other colleges that received grants for their healthcare programs include Columbus Technical College in Columbus, Northwest Technical College in Rock Spring, Southwest Technical College in Thomasville and West Central Technical College in Waco.
For more information about Gwinnett Tech's health sciences program, contact the college at 770.962.7580. For more information on the grants from DTAE, contact 404.327.6913.
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About Gwinnett Tech
Gwinnett Technical College, one of Georgia's largest technical colleges, is committed to delivering relevant knowledge to meet the workforce training needs of the region it serves. The college offers more than 50 associate degree, diploma and certificate programs and hundreds of seminars, workshops and courses providing specialized training. Gwinnett Tech's service area includes Gwinnett and North Fulton counties. Gwinnett Technical College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award the associate degree. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Gwinnett Technical College. In addition, some college programs hold separate licensure or accreditation status with appropriate agencies. For more information, visit www.GwinnettTech.edu.
A unit of the Technical College System of Georgia.