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Mercy College to Collaborate on $3.4 million U.S. Department of Labor Grant

April 30, 2010

(Des Moines) – Mercy College of Health Sciences was informed that a $3.4 million competitive grant submission to the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration was funded to create new curricula models for the delivery of health care education to legal refugees and immigrants living in Iowa.

The grant is a collaborative effort with Iowa Department of Workforce Development (IWD), the Iowa Bureau of Refugee Services, and a number of employment partners including Mercy Health Network, Mercy Health Network-Central Iowa, Dallas County Hospital, Buena Vista Regional Medical Center, Bishop Drumm Retirement Center and Arbor Springs.

The project will remove barriers faced by up to 274 legal refugees and immigrants in pursuing higher education by providing health science course content that has a modified curricula in pace and teaching style to meet the needs of these students.  In addition, one-on-one support services including tutoring, job placement services, resume writing and interviewing skills will be provided.

The project addresses Iowa’s documented current and future shortages of health care professionals in seven career fields, including: medical billing and coding, emergency medical technician, nursing assistant, medication aide, medical assistant, paramedic and surgical technologist, while also increasing the diversity of the health care workforce at direct patient care levels. The goal of the grant is to provide more than 200 nationally licensed/certificated health care workers to fill some of the hundreds of job openings available in the state.

Iowa has a long and successful history of helping to resettle refugees and immigrants from around the world, yet the recent economic crisis and recession has disproportionately impacted racial and ethnic minorities in the state, according to statistics from the IWD.

We are thrilled to partner with Workforce Development, the Bureau of Refugee Services, the many health care employers and the projects stakeholders’ advisory board which includes several regional health sector employers and industry association executives. These associations represent health care providers throughout the state and will be vital to the recruitment and placement of these graduates in key diverse communities across Iowa over the next three years,” said Mercy College President Barbara Quijano Decker.

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This workforce solution was 100% funded by a $3.4 million grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. The solution was created by the grantee and does not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Labor. The Department of Labor makes no guarantees, warranties, or assurances of any kind, express or implied, with respect to such information, including any information on linked sites and including, but not limited to, accuracy of the information or its completeness, timeliness, usefulness, adequacy, continued availability, or ownership. This solution is copyrighted by the institution that created it. Internal use by an organization and/or personal use by an individual for non-commercial purposes are permissible. All other uses require the prior authorization of the copyright owner.

Mercy College is the only Catholic college in Central Iowa and is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). To learn more about the 18 health science degree and certificate programs, visit the College website at


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Jim Tagye
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Office: (515) 643-6678
Fax: (515) 643-6698



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