University of Maryland invests $5.1 million into recruiting nurses from community colleges

The University of Maryland Medical System announced Monday a $5.1 million initiative to recruit nurses and other clinical bedside experts from the state’s community colleges.

“As a System, we are committed to improving health outcomes for the communities that we serve,” UMMS Senior Vice President Lisa Rowen said in a news release.

“And in the spirit of community, we have enhanced our partnerships with community colleges whose health professions programs are an excellent workforce resource including schools across Maryland and with Delaware Technical Community College.”

Some of the system’s hospitals already had relationships with community colleges in their area, but the release said the initiative establishes a “comprehensive and unified partnership strategy with community colleges.”

The UMMS Community College Tuition Assistance Incentive Program has 600 openings — 300 for registered nurses and 300 for other specific clinical positions. Qualifying positions in addition to registered nurses include licensed practical nurses, surgical techs, radiographers, respiratory therapists, certified nursing assistants and patient care techs.

After graduation and with completion of necessary certifications and hospital orientation, newly- hired registered nurses are eligible for $12,000 in grants, and non-registered nurses are eligible for $5,000 in grants.

“The demand to fill skilled clinical positions is at an all-time high and we want to be the employer of choice for community college graduates seeking employment in health professions,” Rowen added. “We are hopeful that these funds will help the graduates cover much of their educational expenses and further differentiate UMMS from other health care employers.”

Community college partners include:

  • Anne Arundel Community College
  • Baltimore City Community College
  • Cecil College
  • Chesapeake College
  • College of Southern Maryland
  • Community College of Baltimore County
  • Harford Community College
  • Howard Community College
  • Montgomery College
  • Prince George’s Community College
  • Wor-Wic Community College
  • Delaware Technical Community College.

Recipients are required to work at their UMMS organization: Nurses must commit two years full-time, and non-registered nurses must commit one year.

Applications are reviewed by a group of clinical care services, human resources and finances employees at each site.

The program is part of a larger effort by the system to invest in its workforce. It said some examples of this commitment include $15 minimum wage for all team members and waiving paid time off maximum accruals during the pandemic.

Jessica Kronzer

Jessica Kronzer graduated from James Madison University in May 2021 after studying media and politics. She enjoys covering politics, advocacy and compelling human-interest stories.

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