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Avera invests up to $1.6 million to support nursing students at Mount Marty

Mount Marty University

Nursing students at Mount Marty University in Yankton are receiving financial support from a new partnership with Avera.

The new Avera Scholars Program will help students with school loans in exchange for working there after graduation.

Avera has committed to investing in as many as 40 nursing students, providing each with $10,000 of funding per year for four years. This is a potential total investment of $1.6 million over seven years.

The Avera Scholars program will provide nursing students with first-hand health care experience by giving them work during their time at the university. The students then commit to working at Avera for three years following graduation.

Doug Ekeren is the regional president and CEO of Avera Sacred Heart Hospital in Yankton. He says partnering with Mount Marty is a win-win scenario.

“It’s certainly a win for the students with the cost of their education and the fact that they're on track to employment, and they get experience. It's a win for us because we know we're going to have very competent nurses whose value system matches ours.”

The nursing students will receive education and training at the Avera Science & Nursing Complex on the Mount Marty campus. The facility provides the technology and setting for students, regional health care providers and first responders to take part in skills training.

Marcus Long is the president of Mount Marty University. He says the program has long been in the works.

“We're just incredibly grateful for Avera's investing their time and money in securing outstanding young men and women who can be nurses for the long term in the Avera system.”

The Avera Health system has 20,000 employees and physicians, serving more than 300 locations and 100 communities in a five-state region.