Pearl River Community College announced two exciting initiatives March 1 at the Forrest County Board of Supervisors meeting set to benefit Forrest County residents.
The board of supervisors gave $125,000 to continue the County Tuition Assistance Program (CTAP) which is in it’s the third year. Forrest Health also gave $90,000 in seed money to start a new LPN to RN bridge program at Pearl River’s Forrest County Center.
“It’s a great day for Forrest County and a great day for Pearl River Community College,” PRCC President Dr. Adam Breerwood said. “What the Board of Supervisors has done over the last three years has provided an opportunity to achieve higher education. Everyone that lives in the area will have an opportunity to attend Pearl River Community College tuition free through this program.
“That’s a testament to their work, a testament to the dedication to their constituents and a testament to really building better communities.”
Recently graduated students can take advantage of the tuition assistance program if they are residents of Forrest County. This program fills in the gap for any eligible student’s tuition need for four consecutive semesters after financial aid and scholarships are applied. This allows for Forrest County students to attend college at Pearl River without the financial burden of tuition cost. Students interested should apply to Pearl River Community College at PRCC.EDU/admissions and fill out a FAFSA application.
LPN TO RN BRIDGE
While nursing professionals have been needed in the workforce for quite a while, Phyllis Chambers-Berry, Chief Nursing Officer at Forrest General Hospital says, the pandemic has exacerbated that need. This recognition of need is, in part, what led to the start of the partnership.
“The ability to bring the RNs to the Pine Belt is a great opportunity for Forrest Health,” Chambers-Berry said. “This will also touch anyone that has a will and initiative to care for patients. It’s so important for the residents of Forrest County to have the opportunity to bridge into this program.”
Chambers-Berry and PRCC Vice President for Forrest County Center, Allied Health and Nursing Programs Dr. Jana Causey worked together to bring about this partnership for the benefit of both parties and the county residents at large.
“This partnership means so much for the Pine Belt,” Causey said. “When a partner can come forward and can offer funding to start a new program and when entities like the Forrest County Supervisors can help with tuition, that makes it where our students can go to college. We can also start programs like this that can meet the needs of the workforce.”
This night and weekend RN program will allow already licensed Practical Nurses to continue their education close to home and while increasing the amount of RN’s available to the local workforce.
“Forrest General has been a great partner to us over the last several years especially since the pandemic has hit,” Breerwood said. “They have worked with us on a variety of initiatives and when they came to us and stressed the importance of needing additional nurses in the area, we were happy to step up and they provided the seed money for us to get this program started.
“The college is committed to the longevity of the program to continue to provide opportunities to put people to work in our healthcare industry.”
To learn more about the LPN to RN bridge program visit PRCC.EDU.