FILE - Mike Dunleavy Alaska

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy

(The Center Square) – Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy is using $2.1 million from the federal Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund to address nursing shortages.

The money will be granted to the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) College of Health to cover the cost of increasing the number of nursing instructors, according to a news release from the governor’s office.

The bulk of the money will be split between a $900,000 loan repayment used to hire up to 15 faculty members and for 10 current members and $850,000 for hiring bonuses and relocation expenses for up to 23 new faculty members or for current staff that relocates to an area of the state where nurses are needed.

Also included is $200,000 to hire a search firm to help recruit nursing faculty. Another $125,000 is allocated to help bachelor’s level instructors obtain their master’s degrees.

The state had a shortage of nurses even before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the governor’s office. Alaska entered into an $87 million contract earlier this year with the federal General Services Administration to bring health care professionals to the state to help with shortages, according to a news release from Dunleavy’s office.

“Alaska’s health care system depends on qualified, highly trained nurses providing skilled and compassionate care each and every day, and that requires the highest caliber instructors we can find,” Dunleavy said in the news release. “Graduates from the UAA nursing program are highly regarded medical professionals, the more of them we can train here in Alaska, the stronger our health care system will be.”

The Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund is part of the federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act, according to the news release.

Associate Editor

Kim Jarrett's career spans over 30 years with stops in radio, print and television. She has won awards from both the Georgia Press Association and the Georgia Association of Broadcasters.