Higher Education Bonding Bill Invests in Minnesota’s Future Workforce
Posted on May 18, 2023 by Kayla Khang
The Higher Education Omnibus bill (HF 2073) has now passed both the House and Senate and is awaiting a signature from the Governor. The measure will include a one-time investment of $3 Million for the Next Generation Nursing Assistant (NextGen) training program over the 2024-2025 biennium.
LeadingAge Minnesota and the Long-Term Care Imperative support workforce development programs that lower barriers to caring careers. A one-time investment to continue the NextGen program is another tool in helping to address our workforce crisis. Low-barrier access to education and training creates more opportunities to enter the sector.
We also know that programs like NextGen can be further improved to be successful long-term. We continue to work with the Office of Higher Education on recommendations to improve this critically needed program, including:
- Developing a system to seamlessly connect recent nurse aide graduates from training programs to long-term care employers in their area
- Using data-driven measurement to ensure that students are not just completing the training and testing but also are finding meaningful work as nursing assistants in long-term care
- Adopting an “employment-first” model in which students are first connected with an employer to have the opportunity to earn and learn while completing their training and testing
We look forward to continued collaboration with the Office of Higher Education, the Minnesota State HealthForce Center of Excellence, and legislative leaders to improve this program over the next two years.
Other provisions in the Higher Education bill
Conferees were also able to agree on funding for financial assistance for several different groups of students, including a new scholarship program for students pursuing careers as paramedics or health technicians, as well as funding to maintain a freeze on tuition increases in the Minnesota State system until 2025, and a general budget increase for the Minnesota State College System and the University of Minnesota.
Funding was also included for a new program allowing Minnesotan students whose families make under $80,000 annually to attend a public community college, a four-year university in either the University of Minnesota or Minnesota State systems, or a tribal college. These investments are an attempt to mitigate Minnesota’s declining enrollment in the state’s post-secondary institutions and our declining/stagnant workforce.
The conference committee report can be viewed here.
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