Bradford County School District receives $4 million from Gov. DeSantis to expand nursing program

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis awarded $4 million to Bradfords County School District to expand Santa Fe College's nursing program.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis awarded $4 million to the Bradford County School District to provide local expansion of Santa Fe College’s nursing program.


The “Bradford: Building a Healthy Future,” initiative was among nearly $223 million in projects funded by the governor on Feb. 2, 2024, through the federally supported Multipurpose Community Facilities Program, Santa Fe College announced in a statement it issued on Tuesday.

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The initiative is described as providing construction and rehabilitation of community facilities for workforce development, educational opportunities, and access to healthcare in small and rural communities for Floridians.

The purpose of the grant Bradford County received is to increase access to healthcare education. And it’s a dual purpose effort as the benefit of education increases the access to healthcare for county residents by addressing nursing shortages.

READ: UNF prepares nursing students for the real world

“Nurses are an indispensable part of an effective health care system, and both locally and nationally, there is a need for trained, qualified nursing professionals,” Santa Fe College President Dr. Paul Broadie II said. “We are excited to partner with North Florida Technical College on this transformational opportunity to address the nursing shortage, while providing the citizens of Bradford County easier access to the training needed to enter this in-demand field.”

Money will go to the program located at the school district’s North Florida Technical College in Starke. Renovations, upgrading space for the nursing classroom, lab and office space, equipment, and remote instruction are all part of the proposed plan.

Read: ‘There’s been a huge need for nurses:’ Local hospital has a new method to combat nursing shortage

Bradford County anticipates the program to launch in 2026-27. Students can earn their Associate in Science degree in Nursing without having to travel to Santa Fe College’s Northwest Campus in Gainesville.

“We are excited to continue to expand our partnership with Santa Fe College,” Will Harley, Bradford County Superintendent of Schools, said. “The ASN program will be a valuable bridge for our students at North Florida Technical College to continue their education and pursue jobs that provide a higher wage. I am so appreciative of all of those who worked on this grant to increase the opportunities to our community. We will be working hard to complete the necessary renovations so that the program can start as soon as possible.”

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“Bradford: Building a Healthy Future,” also includes support for the proposed telehealth access space for Bradford County students and citizens, increasing access to healthcare and fitness.

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