Briar Cliff Receives $2 Million Grant from EDA

May 3, 2022

Briar Cliff University is pleased to announce the awarding of a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) for $2 million. 

As a recipient, Briar Cliff will create the School of Interprofessional Health and Help Sciences™, a health care workforce training facility, by renovating Toller Hall and expanding the building with a new academic wing to co-locate all health care sciences programs.  

“Our project will serve as a vital infusion of workforce creation, talent retention, and economic impact for Siouxland and the surrounding region,” says Dr. Rachelle Keck, President of Briar Cliff University. “This facility will support the preparation, graduation, and placement of competent health care professionals in our community.”

According to Iowa Workforce Development and the Iowa Nursing Association, nearly 13,000 health care workers are currently employed in Siouxland, with more than 3,700 indicating a potential to leave the field. Combining these impending departures with current openings and upcoming retirements, projected shortage of health care workers rises to nearly 5,000. 

“We have heard many stories from those providing our community the care they need. While faced with a pandemic, reduction in staff, long hours, high patient volumes, and other challenges, it is incredible to witness a consistent message: these providers are selfless, passionate, and dedicated,” says Dr. Todd Knealing, Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs. “The Briar Cliff University School of Interprofessional Health and Help Sciences™ aims to provide more of these incredible professionals.”

After listening to the community’s needs, Briar Cliff is expected to increase the number of health care worker graduates by 47% with the new facility. Programs housed in the new facility will learn through interdisciplinary collaboration through clinic-based interprofessional learning, hands-on clinical opportunities, local partnership opportunities, and community service elements such as the Pro Bono Clinics. 

“In the next two years, we will graduate nearly 200 new professionals who are practice-ready - to work and to address our community health care needs. I cannot wait to be involved in their journey,” adds Dr. Cortni Krusemark, Founding Program Director of the Occupational Therapy Program and faculty lead on the School of Interprofessional Health and Help Sciences™.

Construction for the School, with additional support from the Missouri River Historical Development and other donors, will begin in the late summer of this year with a project completion goal of August 2023.

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