Briar Cliff receives $2 million grant from EDA

May 3, 2022

Briar Cliff University is pleased to announce the award of a $2 million US Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant.

As recipient, Briar Cliff will create the Interprofessional School of Health and Supportive Sciences™, a center for training health workers, by renovating Toller Hall and expanding the building with a new academic wing to bring together all health science programs.

“Our project will serve as a vital infusion of workforce creation, talent retention, and economic impact for Siouxland and the surrounding region,” said Dr. Rachelle Keck, President of Briar Cliff University. “This facility will support the preparation, graduation and placement of skilled healthcare professionals in our community.”

Nearly 13,000 healthcare workers are currently employed in Siouxland, with more than 3,700 indicating potential to leave the field, according to Iowa Workforce Development and the Iowa Nursing Association. Combining these impending departures with current openings and upcoming retirements, the projected shortage of healthcare workers rises to nearly 5,000.

“We have heard many stories from those who provide our community with the care it needs. In the face of a pandemic, downsizing, long hours, high patient volume and other challenges, it’s amazing to witness a consistent message: these providers are selfless, passionate and dedicated. says Dr. Todd Knealing, Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs. “The Briar Cliff University School of Interprofessional Health and Help Sciences™ aims to provide more of these incredible professionals.”

After listening to the needs of the community, Briar Cliff is expected to increase the number of healthcare graduates by 47% with the new facility. Programs housed at the new facility will learn through interdisciplinary collaboration through interprofessional clinical learning, hands-on clinical opportunities, local partnership opportunities, and community service elements such as Pro Bono clinics.

“Over the next two years, we will train nearly 200 new professionals ready to practice – to work and meet our community health care needs. I look forward to being part of their journey,” adds Dr. Cortni Krusemark, founding director of the occupational therapy program and faculty leader of the Interprofessional School of Health and Helping Sciences.

Construction of the school, with additional support from Missouri River Historical Development and other donors, will begin in late summer of this year with a project completion target of August 2023.

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