Washington State College of Ohio(WSCO) was recently awarded a grant by the Memorial Health Foundation. Theinstitution received $100,000 to supports its efforts to strengthen the nursingworkforce through its EARN pathway.

MARIETTA, OHIO— Washington State College of Ohio (WSCO) was recently awarded a grant by the Memorial Health Foundation. The institution received $100,000 to supports its efforts to strengthen the nursing workforce through its nursing pathway.

The grant funds, payable over two years, will be used to add an additional nursing success coach, bringing the total to two. Heather Kincaid, WSCO’s dean of health and sciences, acknowledged the significant demands and the rigor of the programs, however, she said it would be the responsibility of the success coach to provide guidance and support as students learn to balance life, work, and education. “These are students who must work to support a family and have many responsibilities outside of the classroom. Our goal is to remove as many barriers as possible to help them succeed.”

Washington State and Memorial Health System (MHS) have a long-time, mutually beneficial partnership. As the largest employer in Washington County, MHS is also one of the largest employers of WSCO alumni. In fact, over the past five years, nearly 300 graduates from WSCO’s health programs have found gainful employment at MHS along with countless other alum who support the facility in areas outside the scope of direct patient care, including IT, administrative support, maintenance, and more.

“The ability of Memorial Health System to continue to provide progressive, ‘world-class’ care to our community is directly related to our ability to hire and retain great physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals,” said MHS President and CEO Scott Cantley. “Much of this strategy relies on local partnerships to create and train our workforce of tomorrow. Washington State College of Ohio is an investment that provides excellent returns for our community and health system.”

The nursing programs at WSCO are among some of the best in the state. Earlier this year RegisteredNursing.org ranked the ADN program fifth, out of 96 RN programs in Ohio. Additionally, both the practical nursing and ADN programs have excellent job placement rates as well exceptional pass rates on state licensure exams.

Last fall, the college introduced EARN, an acronym for Education and Advancement to Registered Nurse, which is an in-demand job advancement path. It is designed to meet the immediate needs of local healthcare providers by helping students progress through WSCO’s practical nursing program and then onto its associate degree nursing program while working in the healthcare field.

The pathway was developed in response to the increased demand for skilled healthcare workers here in the Mid-Ohio Valley, as well as nationwide. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that Registered Nurses make up the fastest growing sector in the healthcare industry. WSCO has a 100% job placement rate with area and nationwide job openings for nurses at an all-time high.

Washington State designed the EARN pathway specifically to attract students who are prepared to work as they learn. It allows students to spend two days in the classroom and three days working. As they advance in their skills and education, they will earn credentials, including State Tested Nurse Assistant, Licensed Practical Nurse, and culminating with Registered Nurse, that can help move them up the pay scale.

For more information about nursing programs, visit wscc.edu/associate-degree-nursing or wscc.edu/practical-nursing. For information about the EARN pathway at WSCO, contact Amanda Stilgenbauer at 740.885.5718 or at astilgenbauer@wscc.edu or visit wscc.edu/earn.