Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC)

Community College of Allegheny County

07/15/2011 -- CCAC wins $1.2 million grant to promote diversity in nursing

For more information, contact CCAC Public Relations.

PITTSBURGH—The Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) has been awarded a $1.21 million Nursing Diversity Grant by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The three-year grant will expand CCAC’s RN Achievement program, which is designed to prepare diverse and disadvantaged students for careers in nursing. The grant will provide educational services, scholarships and stipends for qualifying students to increase participation and retention in CCAC’s Nursing Program.

“CCAC is very pleased to be able to expand our successful RN Achievement program thanks to the continued generous support of HRSA,” said Alex Johnson, CCAC president. “This grant reflects not only our commitment to promoting diversity and access to higher education but also the quality of our nationally recognized health career programs.”

CCAC is first nationally among two-year colleges for the number of associate’s degrees awarded each year in Registered Nursing, Nursing Administration, Nursing Research and Clinical Nursing according to annual rankings by Community College Week. CCAC presented degrees to 412 nursing graduates in the 2009–2010 academic year, the period included in the current study. The magazine also ranks CCAC second nationally among two-year institutions for the number of degrees awarded in Health Professions and Related Programs.

CCAC’s RN Achievement program meets HRSA’s goal of eliminating health barriers by assuring an appropriate supply and distribution of registered nurses. The program was established through CCAC’s first HRSA Nursing Diversity Grant in 2008. The current grant will continue the program’s successful initiatives while expanding the number of students served. It also adds an RN to BSN cooperative partnership with Carlow University to help program graduates attain higher-level nursing degrees.

The grant will continue four key initiatives—generating early interest in nursing among high school students, reaching out to disadvantaged students through preparatory work as well as financial assistance, working to improve retention and incorporating cultural diversity sensitivity training into the program.

First, CCAC will work to increase recruitment of high school students by partnering with the Pittsburgh Public Schools to provide information designed to interest students in nursing careers. This will include a series of Nursing Career programs held at the college’s four campuses and open to all high school students.

Second, the college will work to increase opportunities for disadvantaged students in order to gain entry into the competitive program by providing a structured Pre-entry Nursing Year in which students will receive tutoring, support and guidance at CCAC–Allegheny Campus. A limited number of students will also receive financial assistance in the form of stipends during the Pre-entry Nursing Year and scholarships during the first and second years after admission to the nursing program.

Third, CCAC will work to increase student retention to facilitate completion of the nursing program through comprehensive support efforts, academic assistance, faculty interaction and guidance. Each of the three years of the grant, 45 students will benefit from the program’s comprehensive intervention strategies that provide individual attention and support. This reflects an increase from 36 students annually under the prior grant. 

Finally, the college will provide cultural diversity training to faculty and students of the program.

Multiple regional partners provided letters of commitment—from local health care facilities that will continue to invite CCAC nursing students to shadow routine caregiving to local educational institutions that will enable CCAC nursing students to observe higher-level Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN) or Master of Science in nursing (MSN) courses to encourage further education after completing the RN degree with CCAC.

This is CCAC’s second HRSA Nursing Workforce Diversity grant. This project is supported by funds from the Division of Nursing (DN), Bureau of Health Professions (BHPr), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).   


About the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC)
CCAC annually educates 33,000 credit students through 170 degree, certificate and transfer programs and offers non-credit and workforce development courses to 30,000 students. The learning-centered institution’s mission is to provide affordable access to quality education and offer a dynamic, diverse and supportive learning environment that prepares the region’s residents for academic, professional and personal success in our changing global society. CCAC’s quality programs enable students to transfer credits to 520 colleges and universities and support regional workforce needs with accessible instruction available day, evening, weekend and online in Allegheny County and beyond. Visit to learn more.