$418,000 awarded in Year Two to support the growth and development of the nursing workforce in Northeastern Pennsylvania
August 31, 2022
In response to the acute shortage of nurses across the region and its effect on the health and wellness of Northeastern Pennsylvania, the Northeastern Pennsylvania Health Care Foundation announces it has awarded $418,000 in its second year towards nursing scholarships for local students as part of its Careers in Care initiative.
The Careers in Care Nursing Scholarship Program has awarded 49 scholarships to students in Lackawanna, Luzerne, and Wyoming Counties who plan to pursue or who are pursuing nursing and who will practice in Northeastern Pennsylvania. These scholarship opportunities come during a time when there have been great strains on the healthcare workforce in Northeastern Pennsylvania. After significant interest in 2021, the Northeastern Pennsylvania Health Care Foundation increased the total amount available for scholarships in 2022 from the previous year. In 2021, a total of $190,312 was awarded to 21 students.
The Careers in Care Nursing Scholarship Program accepted applications earlier this year and, through a rigorous and competitive application process, identified a variety of qualified nursing students.
Recipients include Brooke Bird, Cleora Brown, Alexis Bruno, Sabrina Brynok, Maria Buchleitner, Amy Casagrande, Megan Chestnut, Michael Dargatis, Monica Darjee, Alyssa Dikeman Melisky, Jacqueline Earley, Thamar Etienne, Linda Gagner, Damian George, Chasity Girton, Alison Heck, Jennifer Jaffe, Amy Kwiatkowski, Ashley Lomascolo, Milagros Lopez, Nicole Lubash, Kristyn Lutecki, Leah Majdic, Brittany Marcinkevich, Danielle McCormick, Mary McFadden, Elizabeth McGuire, Tiffany Megotz, Karli Muto, Kathryn Nielsen, Nicole O’Boyle, Devon Ortolani, Gabriella Osegueda, Kimberly Owen, Kathleen Rafalko, Carissa Rand, Samantha Rosselli, Tami Rowlands, Anne Royce, Lorenzo Singotti, Kelly Smith, Kelsey Stanco, Charon Taylor, Celibeth Thomas, Celena Thomas, Tiffany Tomasello, and Ariana Velez.
Scholarship recipients are attending a variety of schools including Luzerne County Community College, Bloomsburg University, Lackawanna College, Penn State Scranton, Wilkes Barre Area Career & Technical Center, Marywood University, Clarion University, Misericordia University, Career Technology Center of Lackawanna County, Graceland University, and Wilkes University.
“Over the past two years, we have seen just how timely the Careers in Care initiative really is,” said James Clemente, NEPA Health Care Foundation Board Chair. “The Foundation’s Board understands the strains that the regional healthcare workforce is facing and strives to make an impact to address these critical issues through these important scholarships.”
“The Board of the Northeastern PA Health Care Foundation was very innovative in their planning of these scholarships which are made available to nursing students from CNAs through nurse educators at the graduate level,” said Laura Ducceschi, President and CEO of the Scranton Area Community Foundation. “There continues to be a great need and interest in the Careers in Care program, demonstrated by the increased number of scholarships awarded in the program’s second year.” The Scranton Area Community Foundation administers the NEPA Health Care Foundation. There will be a third year of scholarships offered in February 2023 for the 2023/2024 school year.
To qualify for a Careers in Care Nursing Scholarship, individuals were required to show they have had a permanent address in Lackawanna, Luzerne, or Wyoming County for the last three years. Scholarships were available to those interested in obtaining a CNA and entering the healthcare workforce. Scholarships are also for anyone employed in the healthcare field in either Lackawanna, Luzerne, or Wyoming County and looking to advance as an LPN or RN/BSN. Additionally, students were invited to apply if they were in their third or fourth year of a four-year nursing degree and looking for financial assistance. Scholarship recipients were also asked to demonstrate a commitment to stay in the Northeastern Pennsylvania region. The Northeastern Pennsylvania Health Care Foundation also invited ‘nontraditional’ students or those looking to go back to school to obtain a nursing degree to apply for a Careers in Care Nursing Scholarship.
Additionally, through Careers in Care, the NEPA Health Care Foundation has provided grant support totaling $800,000 to a variety of organizations including Lackawanna College, United Neighborhood Centers of NEPA, Children’s Service Center, The Greater Hazleton Partners in Education, Northern Tier Industry and Education Consortium, and Saint Joseph’s Center. The Northeastern Pennsylvania Health Care Foundation’s Careers in Care initiative is a $1.7 million commitment over a three-year period (2020-2023).
In addition to the Careers in Care initiative, the NEPA Health Care Foundation is also in the eighth year of a $3.2 million commitment to the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine (GCSOM) for scholarship support for incoming first-year medical students from Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wyoming counties. The NEPA Health Care Foundation Scholars program covers full tuition for these scholars, who indicate a commitment to practice medicine in Northeastern PA.