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WGU and Family Health West Partner to Provide Professional Development Opportunities for Nurses, Hospital Employees

Jan 17, 2024

GRAND JUNCTION, CO, JANUARY 16, 2024 – Western Governors University (WGU) and Family Health West (FHW) announced a partnership expanding access to in-demand higher education and professional development for the hospital’s nurses and other healthcare workers. The agreement extends special benefits to FHW employees, including exclusive scholarship opportunities, and represents both organizations’ commitment to serving and ensuring high-quality healthcare is available to the residents of the Grand Valley.

Additionally, the pact is a milestone for WGU; it is the university’s first partnership with a healthcare organization headquartered on Colorado’s Western Slope.

Bill Cummins, Associate Vice President of Business Development & Rehabilitation at FHW, emphasized the commitment to providing optimal care for their patients. He stated, "Our patients deserve the best possible care, and by collaborating with WGU, we ensure that our healthcare professionals have access to the latest, high-quality education and training." Cummins highlighted the advantage of WGU's cutting-edge online model, allowing employees to study and learn without the need to resign from their current positions or relocate to a different city.

WGU is a nonprofit, online university offering bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in healthcare fields, as well as business, IT, and teaching. It features a personalized, competency-based learning model that allows students to study and learn when and where it is convenient for them. They progress through courses as soon as they can prove they have mastered the material, rather than advancing only when the semester or term ends. If a student can learn faster, spend more time on schoolwork, or lean on knowledge they already have from previous work or school experience, they can accelerate through their courses and graduate sooner.

“Healthcare workers put in long hours, often late into the night,” said Ismar Vallecillos, WGU’s Regional Director of Operations. “WGU understands that and makes all its coursework accessible anytime and anywhere. Students don’t have to log in by or sit in class for a certain time. They study on their days off, before and after their shifts, and sometimes during their breaks. We are honored to partner with FHW and help its employees grow in their careers.”

In 2023, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed a proclamation recognizing WGU’s impact creating pathways to opportunity and improving access to higher education for working learners in Colorado. In 2021, WGU was named a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education by the National League for Nursing. The university’s nursing degree programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

About Family Health West

Family Health West (FHW) is a regional health care provider and Critical Access Hospital located in Fruita, Colorado. They are comprised of a 25-bed hospital, Emergency Room, and network of specialty clinics serving patients across Western Colorado and Eastern Utah. FHW was born from a vision to provide quality, locally-based health care to a rural community. Their roots go deep. The people who called the Grand Valley home built FHW from the ground up. Family Health West is by our people, for our people, for the future. Every day, they strive to create care that feels like home.


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