BHSH and GVSU reach $19 million agreement to expand workforce pipeline in Michigan


Patrick Jones


The BHSH System and Grand Valley State University (GVSU) are partnering up to create the BHSH Spectrum Health West Michigan Nurse Scholar program. The health system is investing $19 million to break new ground in expanding the workforce pipeline to address shortages in nursing.


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The new combined health system—of Beaumont Health and Spectrum Health—aims to be, “a model for the nation in addressing the severe talent shortage in nursing,” according to a press release on the partnership. 

“We challenged ourselves to be bold: What can we do, together with GVSU, to permanently increase access to education, strengthen nursing education programs and invest in talented, compassionate people who want to become nurses,” said Tina Freese Decker, President and CEO of BHSH System. “Our teams delivered a joint, innovative proposal that expands opportunities for up to 500 future nurses and can be the model for others to emulate. We are incredibly excited about the nurse scholar program and the impact this will have in health care, for individual learners and for future generations.”

The mission of the program is to increase the talent pipeline by removing financial barriers to nursing education and outlining a smooth employment path to hospitals. To do that, the program will expand resources toward increased clinical placements, expanded training, greater infrastructure, and other support for students in the program.

GVSU will assume all future infrastructure costs after this one-time investment. The university’s goal is to maintain high rates of student admittance permanently to continually expand the supply of nurses and opportunities for students to enter the field. 

The Michigan Legislature, among other organizations, continued to worry about keeping nurses and other health care professionals within the state after graduation. Of GVSU graduates, more than 92% in health professions stay in Michigan, making the university a strategic supplier in  the workforce pipeline. 

President of GVSU Philomena Mantella said the partnership is a great example of how health systems and universities can effectively address pipeline issues and talent shortage. 

“These talent gaps hold us back or put us at risk,” said Mantella. “We have many dedicated and talented students who want to pursue nursing, but we needed the creativity and support of our partners at BHSH System to make the expansion of nursing possible and affordable for more talented and diverse students. This program is a huge leap forward and a model for other high need fields. I applaud the ingenuity and willingness of our teams to bring it to fruition.”

The program requires proper approval and accreditation before its anticipated start in January of 2023.