Fast Forward Grant trains 934 health care workers

Joe Ballard, News Editor

Over the summer Madison College was awarded more than $5 million from the Department of Workforce Development as part of the Wisconsin Fast Forward program. This bipartisan effort was implemented to help reduce wait lists for high demand careers across the state. It is estimated that the additional funding will allow for the training of 934 more workers at Madison College in nursing, machine tooling, construction & remodeling, welding, industrial maintenance, metal processes & metal repair techniques.

The grant money is being spent to hire new professors, expand existing programs, and purchase new materials for each program. The money may not be used for tuition or financial aid. Students are already seeing an immediate impact as many have been allowed to enter into their programs earlier than expected.

Kay Grotelueschen, Associate Dean of Nursing, hopes the grant money will be able to help over 240 nursing students over the next two years. The School of Nursing is adding two sections each semester with 24 students in each section. Two professors will be hired for instruction and a part time staff has been added with the goal of providing academic advising and additional support for students within the program. The part time staff will also be involved with data collection regarding the number of students starting the program, retention, and graduation date.

The Fast Forward grant is expected to run until the spring of 2015. At that time Grotelueschen expects Madison College to be able to continue to offer the additional sections for students. “[I hope] we do very well and there is a continual need and that students like the offering,” said Grotelueschen.  “I hope we will be able to offer this section moving forward after the grant expires.”

The School of Nursing is targeting students who work full time during the week yet are looking to expand their career further, by offering evening and weekend classes. All clinical work will be face to face but the School of Nursing will offer hybrid classes to further serve students with limited time in their schedules. Any students interested in the program should contact the School of Health Education at (608) 246-6065.

All programs receiving funding are expected to see an increase in students applying for the high demand careers.  All students are encouraged to seek out more information in any program they are interested in.