DEED awards grant to launch Pre-Licensure Nursing Apprenticeship pilot program

April 15, 2024


Dean Connie White Delaney, HealthForce Minnesota Executive Director Valerie DeFor, University of Minnesota interim president Jeff Ettinger, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities' chancellor Scott Olson, Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs Satasha Green-Stephen, and CNEE Executive Director Jennifer Eccles.

The Center for Nursing Equity and Excellence (CNEE), which was launched through a partnership between the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State, was awarded a $740,000 grant from the Department of Employment and Economic Development's (DEED) to launch a Pre-Licensure Nursing Apprenticeship pilot program.

“The Pre-Licensure Nursing Apprenticeship Model is a fundamental reimagining of how we teach nursing in Minnesota. It reimagines nursing clinical education to address long standing barriers to nursing education, clinical faculty shortages and clinical space shortages. By creating a system where students can work and become nurses at the same time, we are breaking down significant barriers to careers in nursing,” says Jennifer Eccles, PhD, RN, FAADN, CNEE’s executive director.

Current nursing students from the University of Minnesota, Anoka-Ramsey Community College and Minnesota North College will apply to become nurse apprentices at Allina Health or Essentia Health. The students will be employees of the health system, earning a wage while they learn. They will serve two shifts weekly as nurse apprentices and receive paid release time to attend school. The year-long pilot program will support up to 48 nurse apprentices, who will begin their apprenticeships in the fall semester.

A career navigator will provide individualized support to each apprentice before, during and after the apprenticeships. After graduating and obtaining licensure, apprentices are guaranteed employment at the health system they apprenticed with.

Allina Health will partner with Anoka-Ramsey Community College and the University of Minnesota to provide paid apprenticeships to Associate of Science in Nursing and Bachelor of Science in Nursing students. Essentia Health will partner with Minnesota North College to provide Associate of Science in Nursing apprenticeships.

CNEE is working with national partners, including the Healthcare Career Advancement Program National Center for Healthcare Apprenticeships, to learn from experiences in other states such as Vermont and Texas.

CNEE is Minnesota’s nursing workforce center and is the key to bringing together industries, stakeholders and academia to solve Minnesota’s nursing shortage in a way that reflects the diversity of Minnesotans.

CNEE’s grant award was part of the nearly $20 million in grants awarded as part of DEED’s Drive for 5 Workforce initiative, which is a new effort to prepare more Minnesotans for high-demand jobs in technology, the trades, caring professions, manufacturing and education.

Categories: School News


Media Contacts

Steve Rudolph
School of Nursing