$2.5-M Labor Dept Grant To Help Get More Health Care Professionals In Western SD

      South Dakota‚Äôs West River Area Health Education Center has received a $2.5 million dollar grant from the US Department of Labor to help get more health care professionals in rural areas.

       The West River Center, based at the Black Hills State University Campus in Rapid City, is one of 17 recipients in the nation of an  H-1B Rural Healthcare Grant. 

      The South Dakota grant will provide training and certification for up to 105 CNAs, Certified Nursing Assistants, and half the cost of LPN, Licensed Practical Nurse, education for 59 individuals.  

       Center Director Stephanie Mayfield says the goal of the national grant program is to  increase the number of qualified healthcare workers in rural areas as part of economic development.

      Mayfield says health care is a big factor in economic development, with many companies and developers taking into consideration whether an area will have the level of health care needed to provide workers with the quality of life they want.

      Funding from the South Dakota grant will be available until 2025. Those interested can get more information by contacting the West River Area Health Education Center.