The Will County Board voted Thursday to allocate $23.5 million in federal pandemic reduction funds to put money into financial growth alternatives.

The board authorised $10 million to develop a scholarship program to help the training and retention of nurses and academics.

The board is working with the upper training establishments, together with the College of St. Francis in Joliet, Lewis College in Romeoville, Governors State College in College Park and Joliet Junior School, to develop a program the place county residents who plan examine nursing or training can obtain a scholarship if they comply with work within the county for 2 years after commencement.

The small print are nonetheless being finalized and can return to the board for closing approval, in keeping with board paperwork.

Minority Chief Mike Fricilone, a Republican from Homer Glen, mentioned he was enthusiastic about this system and believes these all for educating and nursing will stay in Will County after the 2 years.

Arvid Johnson, president of St. Francis College, mentioned final week’s the scholarship program will handle a scarcity of nurses and academics and assist make faculty training as inexpensive as potential. Johnson mentioned officers with the 4 increased training establishments have collaborated. Funds will go to the scholars and won’t go to administrative charges, Johnson mentioned.

Board members mentioned if college students don’t work for at the least two years in Will County after commencement, then they must return any scholarship funds.

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The financial growth allocation comes from practically $134 million of federal funds often called the American Rescue Plan Act that Will County obtained to assist transfer ahead from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The remaining financial growth funds might be used to assist offset any adverse impacts from the pandemic, comparable to aiding to affected nonprofit organizations, aiding journey, tourism and hospitality industries and growing job and workforce facilities, county board paperwork mentioned.

Grant purposes should be authorised by the county.

The county has beforehand allotted a portion of those funds to health-related initiatives, meals stabilization packages, violence prevention packages, behavioral and psychological well being packages and substance use therapy and prevention initiatives.

Funds have additionally been allotted to assist townships, fireplace safety, park and library districts, particular recreation associations and public security entities.

The county has been working with consulting agency Anser Advisory to assist it handle the reduction funds and guarantee they adjust to the federal pointers. All funds should be obligated by December 2024 and spent by December 2026.

Michelle Mullins is a contract reporter.

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