COLUMBIA — The South Carolina Hospital Association (SCHA) has awarded Clemson University and the University of South Carolina $25,000 each to support the development of a high-quality health care workforce, with the potential for two additional years of funding at the same or higher level.

SCHA’s Indigo Enrichment Scholarship has committed an initial award of $25,000 to Clemson’s School of Nursing for its partnership with the Greenville Health System and $25,000 to the health services policy and management department in USC’s Arnold School of Public Health. Subsequent funding in year two and beyond will be determined based on an annual review.

Clemson’s School of Nursing will use the funds to help create interprofessional opportunities in the clinical learning environment, said Director Kathleen Valentine.

“We’re grateful for the South Carolina Hospital Association’s support of our efforts to ensure that our graduates are well prepared to work at the top of their license as a registered nurse,” Valentine said. “Through these funds, students will have increased access to experts in the fields of interprofessional teamwork, continuum of care, population health and community health. We want to make students aware of career opportunities within hospitals and in communities that extend the rich contributions nurses offer to patients and families and enable nurses to thrive within their professional role.”

USC will use the funds to support students in the Master of Health Administration program, according to program director Bankole Olatosi.

“The SCHA scholarship will help the MHA program as it prepares students for positions to advance the provision of effective, efficient and equitable health services in South Carolina,” Olatosi said. “Our students will benefit from the increased access to professional education available through conferences, meetings, and training to complement their education. Such opportunities will also be used as a marketing tool for recruiting more talented future health administrators to South Carolina.”

The scholarship program is funded by SCHA Solutions, a division of the hospital association that partners with endorsed companies that provide workforce and operational services to state hospitals and health systems. Companies earn the Solutions stamp of approval by negotiating the best possible price for services and sharing revenue that supports SCHA priorities, such as workforce development.

“SCHA recently completed on-site meetings with leaders of every hospital in the state to learn more about their issues and challenges. Topping the list was recruiting and retaining a quality workforce,” said Lara Hewitt, SCHA Solutions vice president for workforce and partner engagement. “That makes it our priority, and we’re pleased to be able to award these grants to help prepare the next generation of health care staff.”

Founded in 1921, the South Carolina Hospital Association (SCHA) is the leadership organization and principal advocate for the state’s hospitals and healthcare systems. Based in Columbia, SCHA works with its members to improve access, quality, and cost-effectiveness of health care for all South Carolinians. The state’s hospitals and healthcare systems employ more than 70,000 persons statewide. Learn more about SCHA at www.scha.org.