The Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) awarded Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) $1 million to fund the college’s new bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program. The grant will support the first two years of the program by supplementing its curriculum development and funding the cost of a simulation lab coordinator; nursing journals, textbooks, and testing software; and Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing fees.
MCLA’s BSN program received approval from the Board of Registration in Nursing in January and approval from the Board of Higher Education in March. The program will launch in the fall of 2024 and graduate its first class in 2027. It is the first BSN program in Berkshire County and the only four-year nursing program in the rural tri-state area of Massachusetts, New York, and Vermont.
The curriculum will integrate MCLA’s liberal-arts foundation with required courses in the humanities and natural and social sciences to complement theoretical and clinical courses in professional nursing. Nursing faculty will utilize a simulation lab to provide hands-on learning experiences for students in a controlled environment.
The EOHHS Home and Community Based Service (HCBS) and Human Services Workforce Development Grant Program is set to award up to $42.5 million in grant funding for training, recruiting, and retaining initiatives that support HCBS and the human-services workforce in Massachusetts. The program helps fund training organizations that develop healthcare professionals, including direct-care staff, nurses, behavioral-health staff, and community health workers. This mission aligns with MCLA’s goal to address the rural nursing shortage and the critical healthcare needs in Berkshire County through the creation of a BSN program.