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Beacon Health and Ivy Tech collaborate to address critical nursing shortage

Beacon Health System and Ivy Tech Community College are collaborating on an innovative program designed to attract, educate and train nurses who will remain in our communities to care for patients locally. This new model will offer educational incentives to increase student enrollment and develop a robust pipeline of nurses to work in local healthcare.

The collaboration will establish the new Beacon Health System School of Nursing at Ivy Tech. Starting in fall 2022, nursing students will have the opportunity to become part of the Beacon Scholars Program.

As Beacon Scholars, students will have the cost of their Ivy Tech education, including books, covered by Beacon Health. Beacon Health will provide these students with a living stipend and future employment as a Beacon Health nurse.

Beacon Health’s commitment also includes providing new nursing faculty resources through current Beacon nurses and making additional investments in facility improvements at Ivy Tech to better prepare students for the clinical environment. The Beacon Scholars Program will help address the nursing shortage in this region by graduating more trained clinical staff who desire to remain in the community in which they are educated.

“This program expands the way we think about health – beyond the walls of our hospitals and doctors’ offices. Health starts in our families, schools and workplaces,” said Kreg Gruber, Chief Executive Officer at Beacon Health System. “Ivy Tech Community College has a great track record of educating individuals who otherwise wouldn’t have an opportunity to enter higher education and who are first-generation students. There’s a benefit to knowing a nurse is committed and grounded here. We need people from our own community taking care of our community and this program will produce that.”

Ivy Tech Chancellor Dr. David Balkin said the alliance represents not only an investment in nurses, but also the creation of new educational opportunities that can impact the health of our communities.

“We are grateful to the entire Beacon team for their dedication to the South Bend-Elkhart area and for their service, creativity and generosity as we work together to address the critical need for nurses in our region” Dr. Balkin said. “We hope that our collaboration model will be replicated locally and throughout the state to meet Indiana’s need for well-trained staff in all aspects of our healthcare system.”

More information and the Beacon Scholars application will be available in the spring of 2022.