Atlantic Health System gets $2.75M federal grant to fund AHS PEACE program for nursing education

Atlantic Health System is pleased to share it has earned a grant of more than $2.75 million from the U.S. Department of Labor as part of the department’s Nursing Expansion Grant Program.

Atlantic Health joins only 25 organizations across the country (and is one of only two in New Jersey) receiving a share of $78 million in total funds distributed.

The money will fund the establishment of Atlantic Health System’s Pathway to Ensuring Access and Clinical Excellence in Nursing, or AHS PEACE, an innovative new program designed to expand and diversify the pipeline of nursing professionals, practicing at the top of their licensure, to fill positions that are in high demand.

AHS PEACE will institute professional pathways for Registered Nurses in acute care and critical care specialties, as well as development of clinical pathways for nursing assistants.

Included among the candidates for these positions will be candidates from historically marginalized and underrepresented populations. According to the DOL, the nation’s health care system faces an average shortage of 203,200 nurses, every year from now until 2031.

“At Atlantic Health System, our commitment to providing extraordinary care to every patient requires us to continue recruiting and educating the best team in health care,” Dr. Suja Mathew, executive vice president, chief clinical officer, Atlantic Health System, said.

“AHS PEACE will be a significant catalyst to our work on nurse and health care worker training and recruitment, health equity and community and academic partnerships. We look forward to supporting members from all of our diverse communities in their pursuit of careers in health care, and we remain steadfast in our goal of addressing workforce shortages in New Jersey.”

AHS PEACE will support the creation of approximately 2,000 nursing jobs through the recruitment of graduating high school students, college-level undergraduates and entry-level incumbent health care workers. Partnerships with area colleges and universities, workforce development agencies and nonprofits will help raise awareness of the program and offer access to large pools of potential candidates.

“Nurses make up the single largest group of professional team members at Atlantic Health System and are essential members of the care continuum across all of health care,” Trish O’Keefe senior vice president, chief nurse executive, Atlantic Health System, and president, Morristown Medical Center, said. “Nurses have always served on the front lines of care, as a patient’s most direct connection to needed health care services. This program, funded through an incredible opportunity from the Department of Labor, will help Atlantic Health bolster those front lines while welcoming hundreds of new health care workers to the most rewarding career imaginable.”