18th District Congressman Darin LaHood visited Illinois College on May 26th to announce a $330,000 Community Project Funding grant to Illinois College for the creation of the online Master of Science in Nursing program.
LaHood was joined by Illinois College President Dr. Barbara Farley and Jacksonville Memorial Hospital President & CEO Dr. Scott Boston in the announcement at the Parker Science Building.
LaHood says it was easy getting the project funding over hurdles in the federal budgeting process: “When you think about Morgan County and Jacksonville, Illinois College plays such an important role in the community here. Obviously, when you look at the leadership and outreach that President Dr. Barbara Farley has and the community here and the impact that it has, it’s important to economic development. Illinois College is one of the largest employers here in Jacksonville. When you couple with the need out there for nurses in our community here locally and across the country, I think it makes a lot of sense.”
LaHood also mentioned an upcoming resurfacing and rehabilitation of Lincoln Avenue for $3.5 million secured through the most recent federal infrastructure and transportation bill.
LaHood says that he will ensure projects like these continue to come to Illinois despite the under count in the 2020 Federal Census: “We will continue to advocate for Illinois in the appropriations process. These two projects here, I think, are a reflection of the opportunities there are to get federal funding. Some of my colleagues haven’t necessarily wanted to do that. I think these programs are transparent. They are open. They are beneficial to the community. We have made a lot of reforms and changes there. Illinois is a big state – 13 million people. We are sixth or seventh largest in the country [in terms of population]. We need to do everything we can to get our fair share of federal funding through projects. I think these two projects are an example that helps out with safety and traffic flow and then, obviously, a need for more nurses.”
President Farley says that the nursing program has become one of the most popular majors at Illinois College: “We are working very closely with Jacksonville Memorial Hospital and Memorial Health in how we can partner to expand access to the nursing program. That’s going to be a really important factor for the students and for growth. This is our fastest growing opportunity of student majors. We are investing as a campus and looking for partners who want to help us in preparing nurses for our region.”
Congressman LaHood as well as members of the Illinois College Board of Trustees, Dr. Boston, and other members of community toured the new nurse’s simulation lab after remarks were given on May 26th.
For more information about the online Master of Science in Nursing program, visit online.ic.edu slash msn-in-nursing.