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PRESS RELEASE

April 11, 2006

Cathy Schroeder
(850) 245-0413

Florida Community Colleges to Receive Funding for Nursing Programs
$250,000 in scholarships to aid critical workforce need in Florida

TALLAHASSEE — Representatives from the Foundation for Florida's Community Colleges and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida (BCBSF) will travel statewide April 19 to many of Florida's 28 community colleges to raise awareness about education opportunities to build the nursing workforce. Events hosted by community college nursing programs will highlight scholarship availability, innovative nursing programs and more.

The scholarship funds, seeded by a $2.5 million endowment established by BCBSF and matched by the Florida Legislature, will be awarded to students pursuing degrees in nursing and allied health professions. The BCBSF scholarship is projected to fund 200 students each year.

"This generous donation is a remarkable example of corporate citizenship," said Community College and Workforce Education Chancellor David Armstrong. "BCBSF has focused their corporate giving on one of Florida's most critical workforce needs and creating opportunities for students to succeed in nursing. It's a win-win for both our students and the state."

Florida is facing a severe shortage of nurses. Workforce studies project the need for nearly 45,000 more nurses statewide by 2012. Nursing programs are among the most expensive for students given the cost of laboratory courses, books, national board exam fees, uniforms and equipment needed to complete their education.

"These scholarships lay a foundation for educational opportunities in nursing statewide," said BCBSF Vice President for Public Affairs Catherine Kelly. "Ultimately, increasing the number of nurses and allied health professionals in the state will promote a healthy future for all Floridians."

The number of scholarships available at each community college will be determined by the number of nursing students enrolled full-time and the amount of dollars raised from local private-sector companies and individuals to match the endowment. The scholarships will be awarded to students selected by individual community colleges.

Regional events and locations:

Wednesday, April 19 9:30 - 10:00 a.m.
Palm Beach Community College
4200 Congress Avenue
Lake Worth

Speakers at this event: PBCC President Dr. Dennis Gallon, BCBSF Vice President of Public Affairs Catherine Kelly, and Community Colleges and Workforce Education Assistant Chancellor Stacey Webb.

Wednesday, April 19, 11 - 11:30 a.m.
Broward Community College
111 East Las Olas Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale

Speakers at this event: BCC President Dr. Larry Calderon, BCBSF Vice President of Public Affairs Catherine Kelly, and Community Colleges and Workforce Education Assistant Chancellor Stacey Webb.

Wednesday, April 19, 3:00 - 3:30 p.m.
Pasco-Hernando Community College
10230 Ridge Road
New Port Richey

Speakers at this event will include: PHCC President Dr. Katherine Johnson, BCBSF Vice President of Public Affairs Catherine Kelly, and Community Colleges and Workforce Education Assistant Chancellor Stacey Webb.

Wednesday, April 19, 5:00 - 5:30 p.m.
Hillsborough Community College
39 Columbia Drive
Tampa

Speakers at this event will include: HCC President Dr. Gwendolyn Stephenson, BCBSF Vice President of Public Affairs Catherine Kelly, FFCC Board members Joe Lang and John Belohlavek, Community Colleges and Workforce Education Assistant Chancellor Stacey Webb, HCC Foundation Director Adrienne Garcia, and HCC Dean of Health, Wellness and Sports Technologies Dr. William Clark.