Quality health care in New York State social service facilities depends on the availability of an educated workforce. According to the NYS Department of Labor, over 5,200 new registered nurses are needed each year to fill expected job vacancies due to industry growth and replacement of RNs exiting the workforce. To meet this demand, the supply of RNs in the state must be dramatically increased. Current health care workers who have access to grant funds to help with educational expenses, including books and clinical supplies, are more likely to pursue studies leading to licensure than those who do not.
PDP provides specialized assistance in the administration of grant funds for nursing education, including expert understanding of the pathways to nursing licensure, the educational providers across New York State, and barriers to pursing licensure. Through a grant program funded by the New York State Department of Health, new licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and registered nurses (RNs) have been added to the state workforce with the help of PDP. These nurses are now working in agencies with a demonstrated need including the Office of Mental Health, the Department of Corrections, and the Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities.
The program has also allowed many current registered nurses to pursue Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in Nursing, enhancing the expertise and leadership capabilities of nursing professionals working with some of New York State's most vulnerable populations.