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Over $1 million coming to two Big Bend colleges to help fight nursing shortage

Part of Gov. DeSantis $125 million set for the state
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Posted at 11:32 PM, May 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-18 23:32:05-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The money will help train more nurses so they can join the workforce and keep patients healthy for years to come in the Big Bend.

"We're going to start seeing a surge of people who do have more interest in healthcare than we have ever seen before."

$825,000. That's how much money Tallahassee Community College will get to support their nursing program. Calandra Stringer is the Vice President of Academic Affairs. She says they will use this money to hire 8 to 10 more full-time instructors and increase their student output by 50%.

"Our understanding is that it is recurring so this is something we can expect on an annual basis."

Monday, Governor Ron DeSantis announced he will provide $125 million to help fight the nursing shortage across Florida.

"I think we are putting our money where our mouth is there would be a need for this anyways but especially when a state is growing," said Gov. DeSantis.

In Taylor County, Big Bend Technical College will get $405,000.

"It's a huge impact you know we're a small, rural community and so that's a lot of money for our school."

Jodi Tillman is the Director of BBTC. With this, she says they want to expand their practical nursing program and increase their class size by over 30%.

"Producing more nurses will enable them to fill those positions that retiring nurses who are leaving the field."

In late 2021, BBTC also got a $2 million grant from the governor to build a new 5,000 square foot Health Science Virtual Reality Laboratory. To staff it up, they plan to use this latest round of money.

"It's a great career ladder and an excellent opportunity to provide for our community."

The new health science lab at BBTC will be ready by May 2023.

Governor DeSantis still needs to sign off on the $125 million dollar nursing education budget. When he does, it's expected to take effect this July.