United Health Foundation Awards Milwaukee Area Technical College $2.3 Million Grant to Expand Nursing School Capacity

  • Foundation grant part of effort to develop 21st
    century workforce by increasing nursing school program by 300
    additional students

MILWAUKEE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–A $2.3 million grant from United Health Foundation will enable the
Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) to double the size of its
registered nursing program over the next three years and help address
the state’s nursing shortage.

The shortage of registered nurses – described by Wisconsin’s Public
Policy Forum as “one of the greatest workforce challenges facing the
health care industry – and employers as a whole” – affects health care
services at all levels of care and is projected to increase as
experienced nurses retire. The Forum’s report calls for a 24 percent
increase in the state’s workforce of registered nurses by 2020.

Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, state Sen. Chris Larson, state Rep. Evan
Goyke and state Rep. Ken Skowronski joined Dustin Hinton, president and
CEO, UnitedHealthcare of Wisconsin, and Dr. Vicki J. Martin, MATC
president, to announce the grant alongside 50 current MATC nursing
students and 50 nurse practitioners from Optum, the health services
company of UnitedHealth Group.

“The health care industry is one of the biggest employers in Wisconsin,
and we are all aware of the critical shortage of nurses throughout the
state,” said Lt. Gov. Kleefisch. “United Health Foundation’s grant to
Milwaukee Area Technical College is a positive step in addressing that
need and will provide growing opportunities for future nursing

Over the next three years, the United Health Foundation grant will help

  • double enrollment beginning fall 2017;
  • increase capacity to graduate an additional 100 students by year three;
  • hire 16 new nursing program instructors;
  • support recruitment of low-income students; and
  • assist with placement services once students graduate.

MATC is matching the United Health Foundation grant to expand the number
of tutors, teaching assistants and other support services to students.

As a result of these goals, the program’s capacity will be increased to
meet the anticipated demand for registered nurses in Wisconsin.

“This grant from United Health Foundation affirms its commitment to our
community and provides us with the resources needed to identify,
recruit, develop and educate the next generation of nurses so
desperately needed in the Milwaukee area and throughout Wisconsin,” said
Dr. Martin.

“To ensure our health care system is the most modern, innovative and
effective in the world requires targeted investments to develop the next
generation of health care workers,” said Hinton. “The partnership
between Milwaukee Area Technical College and United Health Foundation is
the type of private-public approach we need to address the shortage of
nurses in Wisconsin.”

In addition to the funding provided by United Health Foundation,
clinical training opportunities provided by MATC’s partners are making
this project possible. Aurora Health Care, Ascension Health, Children’s
Hospital, Froedtert Hospital & Medical College of Wisconsin, and dozens
of long-term care facilities will enable the college to add 36
additional clinical training sites.

“Studies have shown that nursing care improves health outcomes, reducing
adverse events and ultimately decreasing medical costs,” said Dr.
Michelle Graham, medical director, UnitedHealthcare of Wisconsin.
“Having a sufficient number of well-trained nurses who can meet the
staffing demands of our health care systems will have a positive impact
on our communities.”

“This partnership helps expand the nursing program, increasing access to
health care workers in the community,” said Mary Jo Jerde, senior vice
president, UnitedHealth Group’s Center for Clinician Advancement.

Valencia Reyes, a current nursing student at MATC who graduated from
Lady Pitts High School, said: “United Health Foundation and Milwaukee
Area Technical College’s commitment will have a lasting impact on our
community. Providing more students like me the opportunity to pursue
their dreams of becoming a nurse will benefit many people and will help
improve the health of greater Milwaukee and Wisconsin.”

After the grant announcement, 50 Optum nurse practitioners met with 50
MATC nursing students who will graduate in December 2017. The Optum
nurse practitioners offered career advice to the students as they
complete their degrees and transition to the workforce.

About MATC
Wisconsin’s largest
technical college and the most diverse two-year institution in the
Midwest, Milwaukee Area Technical College is a key driver of
southeastern Wisconsin’s economy and has provided innovative education
in the region since 1912. Approximately 50,000 students per year attend
the college’s four campuses and community-based sites or learn online.
MATC offers affordable and accessible education and training
opportunities that empower and transform lives in the community. The
college offers 200 academic programs; nearly 400 transfer options
leading to bachelor’s degrees; and a School of Pre-College Education,
which assists people with completing high school, preparing for college
or entering the workforce. Overwhelmingly, MATC graduates build careers
and businesses in southeastern Wisconsin. The college is accredited
through the Higher Learning Commission, the national standard for
academics and student services. MATC is one of the Wisconsin’s foremost
providers of nurses, and is accredited by the National League for
Nursing. MATC students perform very well on the National Council
Licensure Examination (NCLEX); 98% of MATC’s RN graduates passed the
licensing exam in 2015.

About United Health Foundation
collaboration with community partners, grants and outreach efforts,
United Health Foundation works to improve our health system, build a
diverse and dynamic health workforce and enhance the well-being of local
communities. United Health Foundation was established by UnitedHealth
Group (NYSE: UNH) in 1999 as a not-for-profit, private foundation
dedicated to improving health and health care. To date, United Health
Foundation has committed nearly $315 million to programs and communities
around the world. We invite you to learn more at www.unitedhealthgroup.com/SocialResponsibility
or follow Facebook.com/UHGGives.

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Milwaukee Area Technical College
Kathleen Hohl, 414-235-7105
Marusic, 312-348-3825