University of Alaska Anchorage receives federal funding to expand state health workforce
The University of Alaska’s Anchorage College of Health has received $4 million in federal funding to help develop Alaska’s health workforce.
The US Economic Development Administration grant will fund the construction of new labs and classrooms. This expansion will allow the university to graduate another 100 healthcare workers each year.
Kendra Sticka is the associate dean at the college. At a news conference on the UAA campus on Thursday, she said the funding was for health professions that support doctors and nurses.
“This project would expand learning facilities for certified practical nurses, surgical technologists and diagnostic medical sonographers, allowing us to nearly double the capacity of graduates from these programs over the next few years,” she said. .
University President Pat Pitney said the funding will help grow the state’s workforce from within and reduce out-of-state recruiting costs.
“This investment will close training gaps in the state and improve the equity and diversity of our healthcare workforce,” Pitney said. “It will also improve distance delivery to provide education and training opportunities.”
The university was one of 60 applicants for the grant, which is being funded by the US bailout. Alejandra Castillo is the U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development.
“Here in Alaska, you were experiencing significant health care staffing shortages before the pandemic hit, which exacerbated the outflow of many health care workers to the lower 48 states,” Castillo said.
According to the project proposal, the new construction and renovations could be completed as early as fall 2023.