GILBERT, AZ — Higher education is coming to the East Valley.
The University of Arizona recently announced that they are putting their Bachelor of Science Nursing program into a space available in downtown Gilbert.
"It's a highly competitive program to get in," explained UA's Chair of the General Nursing and Health Education Connie Miller. "We have so many more qualified applicants than we can accept."
To help get more nurses trained with that prestigious education, UA selected the space and will begin classes in August of 2019 for 24 students. The four-semester program will go year-round.
By Fall of 2020, they hope to double the number of students in Gilbert.
"We're planning to have as much simulation...perhaps even 50% of our clinical time in simulation," Miller described. "So, we can really give the students those high-quality learning opportunities in a safe environment."
Gilbert Mayor Jenn Daniels said, "We estimate we have 80,000 school-aged children in the town of Gilbert and there just is not enough higher education opportunities in the state."
Mayor Daniels said that the town has been focused on setting the stage for education and business growth beyond restaurants for years.
Back in 2015, the building was created for St. Xavier University. The town invested more than $30 million. But, less than one year later - it closed.
"So, yes - we stumbled and I think that's evident," Mayor Daniels said. "But, we're really grateful for partners who believed in us like we believed the opportunity was there for them."
But, Park University and the UA have now moved in and are creating another option for students, as well as a pipeline in the Valley for healthcare jobs.
"We need new grads in all the facilities in the Phoenix area," Miller said. "So, we're trying to do our best to be putting out high-quality new graduates, as well."
To apply, students can fill out the application as normal and simply select 'Gilbert' on their forms.
For more information on applying for the UA Nursing Program, click here.