Governors State University Receives $4.9 Million Department of Labor Grant

University Park, IL–(ENEWSPF)– Governors State University announced today that it was awarded a $4.9 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. The competitive grant was one of only 55 awarded nationwide.

Part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the grant will help provide training and placement services to unemployed, dislocated, and low-wage incumbent workers enabling them to pursue healthcare careers.

The university will act as the lead agency providing coordination with other community-based organizations including the Southland Health Care Forum, SouthSTAR Services, CANN Academy of Nursing, Proactive Community Services, the South Metro Higher Education Consortium, the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) of Metropolitan Chicago, and Robert Morris University.

“Governors State University is proud to address the region’s long-term employment issues through a network of community organizations,” said Dr. Linda Samson, Interim Vice Provost for Research and Graduate Studies and Dean of GSU’s College of Health and Human Services. “GSU and its partners aim to design and implement a regional strategy for developing an able and agile workforce for the healthcare industry focusing on occupations in nursing, allied health, long term care, and health information technology.”

“Congratulations to Dr. Samson for leading the effort that has resulted in this competitive award. This project will help fight the recession by creating jobs in the critical area of healthcare,” said Governors State University President Elaine P. Maimon. “GSU’s work with partners illustrates our collaborative spirit, fulfilling our role as a unifying force in the south suburbs.”

Southern Cook County is specifically in need of a program addressing long-term workforce issues. According to US Census data, the average per capita income in Southern Cook County is $23,763 compared with $32,731 in Western Cook and $55,586 in Northern Cook County. Unemployment and foreclosure rates are also staggeringly high in Southern Cook County.

“We’ll look to implement a strategy, which reaches far beyond entry level positions. Our goal is to provide residents with clear career pathways that allow them to enter or re-enter the workforce and also complete their bachelor’s and advanced degrees,” Samson noted. “Appropriate education will lead to better salaries, job opportunities, and greater investment back into the surrounding communities.”

As lead agency in the project, GSU will oversee project management, database management and evaluation, reporting functions, and roles and responsibilities of the partner organizations through the addition of four new staff positions. Additionally, GSU’s Family Development Center will provide childcare and the Division of Psychology and Counseling will provide interns to council individuals taking part in the program.