Congresswoman Cheri Bustos is advocating for more support with filling health care provider shortages including workforce training at community colleges.
Bustos joined first lady Jill Biden and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona on Monday at Sauk Valley Community College in Dixon, where they toured multi-craft and nursing labs and spoke with local students and educators about workforce training.
Bustos, D-East Moline, recently spoke at a House Appropriations Committee Hearing focused on investments in community colleges and highlighted how community colleges play a critical role in recruiting and training health care professionals.
“As the mother of a community college graduate, I know just how important their programs are to training students for their careers,” Bustos said. “With provider shortages impacting every corner of our region, it’s vital we invest in the education and workforce training that community colleges provide to Illinoisans. I was proud to welcome the first lady and Secretary of Education to our corner of Illinois to discuss how we can work together to solve this issue, and will continue to put forward innovative solutions to strengthen our workforce and local economy.”
Throughout the 17th Congressional District, all 14 counties face provider shortages of some kind – whether that be with mental health care, dental care or primary care providers, Bustos said in a news release.
She recently helped reintroduce the Rural America Health Corps Act, which would help address workforce shortages in rural health care by creating a loan-repayment program to incentivize the recruitment and retainment of health care professionals. Eligible participants who agree to serve for 5 years in a rural area could receive up to $25,000 in loan repayments for each year of service.
Last year, Bustos secured $3 million for a new pilot program where local governments can apply for a grant to create plans focused on combating social factors that harm long-term health, such as health care provider shortages, food deserts, unsafe and insecure housing and other environmental factors.