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Community University Partnership Grant for Health Professional Opportunities


The purpose of the Community University Partnership Project is to enhance future nursing employment options and sustainability of employment for American Indians in North Dakota. The North Dakota State University (NDSU) Department of Nursing is pleased to be collaborating with many key community partners in the state to address the critical shortage of nurses, especially on or near tribal communities. The impetus for this Community University Partnership Project came from the Cankdeska Cikana Community College (CCCC) of the Spirit Lake Nation and its current Next Steps Project. The major goal of the Next Steps Project is to provide access to well-paying health care careers for American Indian people who are low income through the implementation of a mentoring/career pathway model specifically focused on the nursing profession. The goals of the Next Steps Project and the Community University Partnership Project are closely aligned and embraced both by CCCC and NDSU. The Community University Partnership Project will be integrated into the current network of partners actively engaged in pursuing the goals of the Next Steps Project which will immediately maximize organizational capacity.

While the Next Steps Project will focus on the area of degree completion and professional licensure for American Indian Nurses, the Community University Partnership Project will emphasize the creation and evaluation of sustainable “access portals” to the following:

  1. Professional nursing education programs through the state of North Dakota
  • Describe and document the perspectives of Nursing Program Directors regarding recruitment and retention of American Indian students in nursing schools, and
  • Describe and document the perspective of North Dakota Health Care Facility Administrators and Directors of Nursing regarding advantages of a Health Care Apprenticeship Program and their interest in recruiting Next Steps participants as future employees

This objective will be accomplished through an online survey to Nursing Program Directors and Health Care Facility Administrators, followed by an invitation to attend a Tribal American Indian Conference scheduled for May 22 & 23, 2012.

   2. Employment opportunities through a Health Care Apprenticeship Program for participants of the Next Steps Project

  • Develop a North Dakota Nursing Apprenticeship Program and pilot the program by placing 4-6 participants as apprentices in three rural settings near or in reservation communities

   3. Health career mentoring courses and programs for American Indian high school students to empower them to plan for health care careers

  • Develop, implement, and evaluate a summer pilot program for reservation-based high school students and Next Steps adult students to be enrolled in an Introduction to Health Careers course

North Dakota State University is pleased to be partnering with many academic and workforce partners to build a sustainable career path for American Indian people to enter the professional workforce in the state, ultimately creating a culturally diverse workforce that is responsive to the significant health care needs of Tribal populations.

For more information about the program, contact Loretta Heuer, PhD, RN, FAAN, North Dakota State University Department of Nursing, 701-231-8205 or 701-238-8484 (cell), or e-mail:

Funded by The University Partnership Research Grant for Health Professional Opportunity Grant, # 90PH0019, Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families.

Grant Framework

Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

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Last Updated: Friday, July 11, 2014 9:12:17 AM
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