Bill Would Provide $45 Million to Nursing Programs at Community Colleges
Assembly member Juan Arambula (D-Fresno) on Feb. 7 introduced a bill (AB 232) that would allocate $45 million to community college nursing programs to help pay for teachers' salaries and supplies and allow nursing programs statewide to increase enrollment by about 3,000, the Fresno Bee reports.
As written, funding for the measure would come from the state general fund, but Arambula is "looking at alternative funding options" such as federal work-force investment funds or welfare-to-work funds, the Bee reports.
The state this year is expected to spend $18.7 million in federal money through the Employment Development Department to train nurses and other health care employees. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has proposed spending $11.2 million for such efforts in fiscal year 2005-2006, according to Department of Finance spokesperson H.D. Palmer.
Nursing programs spend about $15,000 annually to educate one nurse. Government funding covers about $9,000 per nurse, according to Donna Gerber, California Nurses Association director of government relations.
Arambula said that the bill "would have to compete with all of the other needs of the state." He added, "A reasonable argument can be made that we should be addressing the areas of labor shortage, and we should be training our own people. The students are there. The demand is there. The need is there. We have to put it all together."
Finance department officials would not comment on the bill because an analysis was not complete (Fitzenberger, Fresno Bee, 2/14).