GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A West Michigan health system and university are partnering to create a smooth school-to-work pipeline to address the nursing shortage in Michigan.

The new Beaumont Health Spectrum Health System and Grand Valley State University are partnering to create BHSH Spectrum Health West Michigan Nurse Scholar program. The program is designed to take away financial barriers to students to increase the nursing talent pipeline, according to a press release.

A federal workforce analysis shows that Michigan has a nursing shortage for its population, according to the release. It notes that over 92% of all GVSU graduates in the health profession stay in Michigan.

“This is local. This is very local and it’s an ability for us to take care of our community. That’s what excites me about this program,” said Shawn Ulreich, Chief Nurse Executive, BHSH Spectrum Health West Michigan.

Leaders from BHSH and GVSU hope that the program will inflate the number of students in health programs. BHSH is investing $19 million in infrastructure, start-up costs, grants and resources for more clinical placements, training and support for students. GVSU will increase support for financial aid, curriculum enhancements, technology and equipment, students support services, simulation enhancements and clinical experiences, according to the release.

“What is truly unique here is the expansion of a pipeline, the opportunity extended to people who want to be nurses and who we can provide the support, the infrastructure, the placement and the opportunities for them to see that vision become a reality,” said GVSU President Philomena Mantella.

In the partnership of these two institutions, almost 500 additional students will be able to pursue a career in nursing over the next six years. GVSU will be ready to permanently increase their number of students admitted to Kirkhof College of Nursing and pay for any future infrastructure costs, the release said.

“This partnership is a fantastic example of challenging the status quo and taking a bold step forward in meeting a critical need in our communities, in our state and potentially a model that can be replicated across the rest of the country by others,” said Tina Freese Decker, President and CEO of BHSH System.

The BHSH Spectrum Health West Michigan Nurse Scholar program is expected to be in place by Jan. 2023, according to the release.