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CalOptima Grants $25M to Local Colleges, Nonprofits

CalOptima Health has approved $25 million in grants to distribute to seven Orange County colleges, universities and nonprofits to increase the local healthcare workforce.

The Orange-based public agency said the funding will address a workforce shortage in areas without enough healthcare professionals, particularly community health centers and safety net providers.

“Our grants to educational institutions will tackle the problem at its roots by funding training and education for tomorrow’s caregivers for the Medi-Cal population,” CalOptima’s Chief Executive Michael Hunn said in a statement.

This is the first phase of CalOptima’s five-year, $50 million Provider Workforce Development Initiative that was launched last year.

Healthcare Pipeline

Among the seven recipients is Chapman University, which is receiving a $5 million grant that will fund full-tuition scholarships for low-income students to attend its physician assistant program.

“This allows us to attract well-qualified students who would normally not be able to afford the program,” Janeen Hill, dean of Chapman’s Crean College of Health and Behavioral Sciences, told the Business Journal.

Students supported by these scholarships will be required to work in medically under-served parts in OC for the first five years after graduating, helping address the workforce shortage.

Coast Community College District (CCCD) is receiving a grant of $2 million, which the district is matching with $2.7 million from state funds.

The combined $4.7 million will expand the Running Start to Nursing program at Golden West College by 40 students per year and develop a dual enrollment pathway to the radiologic technology certificate program at Orange Coast College.

In partnership with California State University, San Bernardino, the nursing program allows students starting in high school to concurrently enroll at Golden West and CSUSB, earning credits toward an associate degree and Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

CCCD will also increase the number of students in its existing radiologic technology certificate program at Orange Coast College by 30 students per year, developing a pathway through partnerships with Santa Ana Unified and Newport Mesa Unified School Districts to dual enroll in the program.

“We want to help our students get trained in professions that are high in demand so they can not only have a fulfilling professional life, but also afford to live and stay here in Orange County,” Andreea Serban, vice chancellor of educational services and technology at CCCD, told the Business Journal.

The Recipients

Santiago Canyon College is receiving $1.2 million to expand its behavior technician and medical assistant programs. It will also develop a licensed vocational nursing curriculum.

California State University, Fullerton will use its grant of $5 million to increase concurrent enrollment of its Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program.

Concordia University will receive $5 million to expand its Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program and provide scholarships to pre-nursing and ABSN students.

The Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing at the University of California, Irvine will be awarded $5 million to create a one-year training program for prelicensure nursing students.

Orange County United Way will receive $1.4 million to expand its UpSkill OC program.

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Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung joined the Orange County Business Journal in 2021 as their Marketing Creative Director. In her role she creates all visual content as it relates to the marketing needs for the sales and events teams. Her responsibilities include the creation of marketing materials for six annual corporate events, weekly print advertisements, sales flyers in correspondence to the editorial calendar, social media graphics, PowerPoint presentation decks, e-blasts, and maintains the online presence for Orange County Business Journal’s corporate events.
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