MCC Foundation Seeks Community Help to Address Nursing Shortage

(Bradenton, Fla., Nov. 1, 2004). - The Foundation for Manatee Community College (MCC) Inc. is seeking help from the community in raising matching funds for a new scholarship endowment fund for community college nursing students. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida (BCBSF) and the Foundation for Florida's Community Colleges recently announced eligibility criteria for scholarships aimed at relieving a critical nursing shortage statewide.

It was announced that the scholarships, seeded by a $2.5 million endowment established by BCBSF and matched by the Florida Legislature, will be awarded to students pursuing degrees in nursing professions. Additional consideration will be given to students from culturally diverse and underrepresented populations in the nursing workforce. Those unrepresented populations include Hispanic and African-American students.

Current projections are that Florida will need 34,000 more nurses statewide by the year 2006. Hospitals from Tampa to Naples have experienced the greatest shortage of qualified nurses with a 15 percent Registered Nurse (R.N.) vacancy rate. MCC is the only two-year public institution in the region offering an R.N. program. The flagship program at MCC was established in 1959. Currently, there are 283 nursing majors in the program, which is offered at MCC Bradenton and Venice.

The number of scholarships available at each community college will be determined by the number of nursing students enrolled full-time and the amount of dollars raised from local private sector companies and individuals to match the endowment.

"MCC has actively partnered with area hospitals to expand its nursing program. This new initiative, with the opportunity to match private funds raised for nursing scholarships, helps us encourage others within the community to invest in nursing students. We invite individuals, organizations and businesses to support us in this initiative," said Peg Lowery, executive director of The Foundation for MCC Inc.

For more information, contact Lowery at (941) 752-5390.

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