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CCC Awarded $250,000 Grant to Support New Nursing Education Program


Up to 20 hospital paraprofessionals will have the opportunity to study for careers as nurses while receiving critical support services through a grant-funded program being created by Camden County College. CCC’s Project Opportunity for Paraprofessionals to Enter Nursing (Project OPEN) is serving employees of Cooper University Health Care and is being funded by a two-year grant of almost $250,000 from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s New Jersey Health Initiatives program.

Project OPEN intends to increase the diversity of the nursing workforce to meet the growing need for culturally sensitive, quality care in Camden. The program will do so by helping 16 to 20 students from underrepresented backgrounds earn an associate in science degree in pre-nursing and then apply and gain acceptance into a bachelor’s degree program in nursing.

Participants must be current health care paraprofessionals who have worked full-time for Cooper University Health Care for at least two years. Certified nurse aides, medical technicians, records staff, billing personnel, secretaries, housekeeping and other workers from typically underrepresented backgrounds are welcome to apply.

To offset anticipated challenges for these enrollees, support measures will include stipends of $1,000 per semester per student and a pre-entry program of self-assessment, goal-setting and workshops on study skills, time management and other topics. Academic coaching, advisement, tutoring and ongoing monitoring of academic progress also will be provided.

“Issues encountered by students from underrepresented backgrounds often include overwhelming financial issues as well as a lack of experience with rigorous academics and a lack of academic and professional role models,” noted CCC Division of Nursing, Health Sciences and Human Services Dean Anne McGinley. “The program’s support services will be key to their success in earning an associate degree and moving into baccalaureate studies.”

Project OPEN applications are now being accepted. To apply, candidates should contact CCC nursing programs director Audrey Brooks at

Published: August 06, 2014