Garrard Schools in running for grant to benefit school nursing program

Published 8:14 am Wednesday, May 3, 2017

LANCASTER — The Garrard County Schools has made the short list for a potential grant from the Work Ready Skills Advisory Committee and will find out at the end of the month if they are one of the lucky ones.

“It would be a very big deal,” said Cindy Rogers, instructional specialist in the district and a key person involved in writing the grant. “Health careers are one of the most needed in the region right now.”

Kentucky’s Work Ready Skills Advisory Committee was formed to review and select grant proposals for the $100 million workforce bond program. In January, $65.5 million was given out to 25 projects. This time, 21 projects were selected for review, totaling about $77 million — but only $34 million will be given out.

The Garrard County Schools has applied for $1.6 million from Kentucky’s workforce development grant fund to help renovate space in the Garrard County High School into two medical labs, one training room and one computer lab; to provide state-of-the-art equipment, estimated to cost $411,000; and to enable them to expand Medical Nursing Assistant certification classes during school and in an adult education capacity after school.

The total project will cost an estimated $2.6 million. The Garrard County Board of Education has committed $1 million to the project, if the grant is successful. The district applied for the first round of grants earlier, but were not selected. This time, they decided to centralize the focus on nursing. 

Rogers said they currently have students wanting to take the nursing classes offered at the school, but they have had to turn away more than 75 students a year. Securing the grant would help the school fulfill a need in the region for nurses while giving students and adults in the community another opportunity.

The classes will be available to adults in the evenings.

Several colleges are partnering with the school on the grant, willing to allow students to take dual credit courses. Medical and health care facilities in the area are also partnering to potentially provide students other opportunities.

Students could graduate with the MNA certification which would allow them to expedite their entry into the workforce, Rogers said. It would also enable students to spend their time after graduation working toward a higher certification or degree, if they so chose. The students might choose a medical-related path other than nursing, she said.

“This would be huge,” Rogers said.

Rogers said they will be interviewed on May 10, and will know by the end of May whether or not they’ve been chosen.