Governor Signs Bill at Addressing Need for Nurses, Math and Science
Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (June 21, 2011) – New legislation designed to help address the state’s nursing shortage and assist students pursing math and science careers was signed last night before a crowd of more than 900 young men participating in American Legion Boys State of Missouri. This was the 58th session for the program which takes place annually at the University of Central Missouri.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon signed House Bill 233 while making his 17th visit to Boys State since 1993. He was joined on the Hendricks Hall stage by Boys State leaders as well as Charles Ambrose, president of UCM, and Julie Clawson, director of the university’s Department of Nursing.
“We want to make sure that we’re preparing our students to enter careers where they can be successful in a changing economy,” Nixon told the gathering. “We can do that by identifying industries poised for growth, and aligning curriculum priorities to meet those needs.”
The legislation provides a one-time advanced placement incentive grant of $500 to any recipient of financial aid under the A+ Schools or Access Missouri programs who has received a score of three or higher on two advanced placement examinations in mathematics or science while attending a Missouri public high school. Access Missouri is a needs-based scholarship program for students who want to complete a two-year or four-year higher education. The Missouri A+ scholarship program covers the cost of tuition and general fees for two years for students in public community colleges who meet academic achievements, service and conduct requirements.
HB 223 also establishes the Nursing Education Incentive Program within the Department of Higher Education to address the nursing shortage. It will provide grants to eligible, accredited colleges and universities as an incentive to encourage nursing programs to increase enrollment and graduate nontraditional students into professional nurse education programs.
“A recent report estimates that Missouri has nearly 13,000 unfilled nursing positions. That makes our state’s nursing shortage the 10th greatest in the country. So this year, we are providing up to $150,000 for each college and university in our state to hire the faculty they need to train more nurses,” Nixon said.
Funds for the incentive program are made possible by nursing licensure fees. The criteria and categories for the grants will be determined by the state nursing board and the Department of Higher Education.
UCM’s Department of Nursing will benefit from the new legislation. The department offers programs at the pre-professional, bachelor, and master's level, and the opportunity to have clinical experiences in both urban and rural communities.