22:23 PM

St. Vincent Healthcare Foundation Joins Community Partners in Support of Nursing Apprentice Fellowship Program


Billings, MT - St. Vincent Healthcare Foundation is proud to support and contribute to a Nursing Apprentice Fellowship program through St. John's United. The program aims to address the growing demand for nurses to meet the health care needs of Montanans. The program is set for immediate launch, including the selection of an initial cohort of students.

"Recruiting skilled nursing professionals to our community continues to be a challenge, which is why the St. Vincent Healthcare Foundation is thrilled to help support the creation of a Nursing Apprentice Fellowship program right here in our own backyard," said Ty Elkin, St. Vincent Healthcare Foundation Executive Director. "The St. John's United business model will provide students with on-the-job training across a broad spectrum of services that will help prepare tomorrow's healthcare heroes."

The Fellowship will provide college tuition payment and health care work experience at St. John’s for exceptional students pursuing LPN, RN, and BSN degrees. The program is designed to cultivate, support, and advance the development of health care professionals, specifically, nurses and certified nursing assistants, to serve in St. John’s communities, hospitals, and other health care contexts. Apprentice–Fellows are free to work anywhere after completion of their degree and will have no repayment requirements to St. John’s United. St. Vincent Healthcare Foundation joins in the effort for continued advancement in nursing education and their contribution will support the BSN opportunities within this apprenticeship program.

The St. John’s Foundation recently announced a $1 million gift, which is the largest single gift in the organization’s 57-year history, made by the Bruno and Evelyne Betti Foundation of Lacey, Washington.

“We are excited to begin this apprentice fellowship program to help meet the critical need for health care professionals in our region,” said David Trost, President and CEO of St. John’s. “The legacy of Bruno and Evelyne Betti to support the professional development of young people will live on in the Fellows who enter this program. We are very grateful for the Betti Foundation’s generous gift and matching challenge. This will make a positive difference in health care throughout Montana.”

The gift is accompanied by an added $500,000 matching challenge from the same Foundation. Through March 31, 2021, the trust will match donations up to a total of $500,000 to fund what will be formally named the Bruno and Evelyne Betti Nursing Apprentice Fellowship.

“With contributions from Billings Clinic and St. Vincent Healthcare Foundation added to other match contributions we have achieved $310,000 of this goal,” said Tom Schlotterback, Vice President of Mission Advancement for St. John’s.

Though Montana has 14 schools accredited by the Montana Board of Nursing, there is still a shortage of nursing students graduating to meet the needs of a growing population of older adults. Officials at St. John’s say it continues to experience a shortage of nurses and certified nursing assistants.

Schools in the region such as City College of Montana State University Billings and Miles City Community College offer nursing degrees and have been invited to participate in the program. In fact, Miles City Community has already agreed to hold student applicant slots each year for St. John’s fellows.

St. John’s has already received applications from high school students for the program and expects its applicant-review committee to select up to four nursing Apprentice–Fellows to enter the program for the fall 2020 semester.

Applicants must:

  • Be a full-time Billings high school junior or senior or an undergraduate college student enrolled with at least six academic credits at Montana State University Billings (MSUB) or Miles Community College (MCC) in Miles City.
  • If in college, provide proof of enrollment and be accepted as a nursing student at MSUB or MCC within 18 months of being accepted as a fellow
  • Be or become come an employee of St. John’s in good standing
  • Have completed a CNA training program
  • Commit to 540 hours of annual paid practical CNA experience at no more than five shifts per week.
  • Complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) each academic year
  • Complete the educational institution’s common application for scholarships, if applicable
  • Accept all non-loan related financial aid offers from school
  • Maintain grades of C or better in all classes and maintain a 3.0 grade-point average

Nursing fellowship applications may be requested by calling St. John’s at (406) 655-5710.

About SCL Health

SCL Health is a faith-based, nonprofit healthcare organization dedicated to improving the health of the people and communities we serve. Founded by the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth in 1864, our health network provides comprehensive, coordinated care through eight hospitals, more than 180 physician clinics, home health, hospice, mental health, and safety-net services in Colorado and the Montana Wyoming region.