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Workforce Network Inc. recently received about $10,000 from the Marble Falls Economic Development Corp. for a newly established Pre-Nurse Success Academy, which is bursting at the seams with prospective students. 

“We have been bombarded,” said Gail Davalos, Workforce Network’s director of Stakeholder Relations. “Once the word got out that we were doing it, (we) now have a list of over 100 people in a spreadsheet who are trying to get into this program.”

Workforce Network provides educational and financial resources to promote local employment in fields such as nursing and other skilled trades. 

Unforeseen budget pitfalls created by tuition and fee increases at nursing schools forced the nonprofit to close enrollment for its upcoming cohort at 11 students, short of its goal of 20 students.

“When we were planning this last spring, the tuition per credit hour at Central Texas College was $124 per credit hour. This fall, they increased it to $130 per credit hour, which kind of blew our budget on that,” Davalos said. 

The EDC money will allow Workforce Network to reopen enrollment and ensure more students advance through the academy in October. 

Creating cohorts, or groups of students, helps Workforce Network officials negotiate with colleges during enrollment periods.

“We don’t want to deal with one (student) here and one (student) there and try to get them in,” Davalos said. “We want a cohort that is moving through these programs at almost the same time so we can negotiate with the college. We want to be able to say, ‘Here’s a cohort of about 20 people and there’s another right behind it, so you’ve got to make slots for us.’”

The Pre-Nurse Success Academy began in July at the Frank Fickett Center, 806 Steve Hawkins Parkway in Marble Falls. Classes include prerequisites necessary to enter the nursing school at Central Texas College in Killeen. Funding for the program was obtained through the Rural Healthcare Initiative and Good Jobs Challenge

Learn more about Workforce Network on its website.

nathan@thepicayune.com