HERKIMER, NY (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – The Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES is starting a new course over the summer to help immigrants and those whose educations were affected by the pandemic get into nursing.

The Nursing Equal Opportunity Step Up Pilot Program is scheduled to start this summer, and is aimed at immigrants who recently arrived in the Mohawk Valley and high school students who faced educational stresses during the pandemic. The program will begin in Ilion and will move at the end of June to Herkimer.

“We hope this unique approach will bridge the educational gap – real or perceived – that prohibits many individuals from attempting to gain a nursing education and become LPNs,” Sara Nicolette, Adult Practical Nursing Program Coordinator at Herkimer BOCES, said in a statement. “In particular, the program is aimed at individuals who have newly immigrated to the Mohawk Valley and high school students that may have faced stresses during the pandemic’s educational process.”

The intensive pilot program will require students to attend classes three days a week from 9 am to 3 pm for four weeks in August. The classes will also address reading, math and concept mapping, as well as English and medical vocabulary.

Those that complete the program will be enrolled in the part-time program on Thursdays and Fridays starting in September, with Wednesdays scheduled for a structured study and test-taking class. That program – which lasts about 20 months – will put students on track to graduate by June of 2025.

To apply for the program, applicants must have an official high school graduation transcript or a GED diploma and present two professional references. They are also required to take and pass an entrance exam and apply for and obtain adequate financial aid.

Those interested in the pilot program or in the school’s nursing courses in general, may fill out an interest form at the Herkimer BOCES website or call 315-867-2206. Financial aid is available through Pell Grants and student loans, and other grants may be available. There is no charge for the initial pilot program.