Will County offers scholarships for nursing and teaching

University of St. Francis nursing students have been helping administer COVID-19 vaccines to community members with Kodo Pharmacy in Joliet.

Will County has started a scholarship program to support students pursuing careers in teaching and nursing.

The county will use $10 million from federal American Rescue Plan money to fund what is called the Will County Heroes scholarship program.

“By working with partners throughout the county, we are supporting both quality education and long-term career success for students,” Will County Executive Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant said in a news release announcing the start of the program Tuesday. “I urge students to consider this scholarship opportunity as they plan for their future.”

Four local colleges and universities received $2.5 million each to implement the program: Joliet Junior College, the University of St. Francis, Lewis University and Governors State University.

Eligible students can receive $2,500 per semester or $5,000 per academic year to support an education for a degree in teaching or nursing.

One goal of the program is to provide incentives for graduates to pursue their careers in Will County, according to the release.

“The program will aim to create an active pipeline to employers throughout the county after they graduate,” according to the release.

Ascension St. Joseph-Joliet and Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox will be “pipeline partners” for nursing students.

“Will County Heroes aims to address shortages in the teaching and nursing profession, which were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to the release.

Will County received $134.1 million in American Rescue Plan funds aimed at stimulating economic recovery from the pandemic. The Will County Board approved the $10 million for teaching and nursing scholarships as part of a $23.5 million allocation for countywide economic development.

Students can apply for the Will County Heroes scholarship at their respective college or university. A full listing of program contacts for applications can be found at www.willcountyillinois.org/heroes.