Merkley, Wyden Announce Key Funding for Nurses, Educators in Congressional Funding Deal

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today announce key provisions for education and health care in the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education bill that will fund programs supporting Oregon’s frontline health care workers and educators, who have suffered through the strain of a global pandemic for nearly two years. The bill, which is included in the omnibus funding bill for fiscal year 2022, is expected to pass both chambers of Congress and be signed into law by President Biden this week.

“As both a dad of two kids and the husband of a nurse who worked on the front lines throughout the pandemic, I felt deeply for everyone in our communities who suffered the extra strain of navigating teaching, parenting, and working in health care professions over the past two years,” Merkley said. “This bill not only contains critical investments in federal programs that support nursing, health care, research, and education, it also contains funding for scores of projects identified by our Oregon communities as important for our friends and neighbors to thrive on the other side of the pandemic. I’ll keep fighting for Oregon’s teachers and health care workers so that we can deliver the quality education and health care that working families deserve.”

“I’ve heard firsthand at hospitals across Oregon about the pandemic’s devastating toll on health care workers, and listened to both educators and young Oregonians statewide recount how the past two years have magnified an already-severe youth mental health crisis,” Wyden said. “As our state works together to put this public health crisis in the rearview mirror as soon as humanly possible, these federal funds are crucial to support Oregon’s health care heroes, teachers and students as well as invest in career training opportunities for Oregonians. I very much appreciate local communities’ input in this legislation and will continue battling for similar resources in the years ahead.”

Merkley is the only Oregon member of Congress from either chamber since Senator Mark Hatfield to serve on the Appropriations Committee, considered to be one of the most powerful on Capitol Hill. He joined the committee in 2013 so that Oregon would have a strong voice in decisions about the investments our nation should be making.

The Labor, Health and Human Services and Education bill includes research and workforce development funding that will help health care professionals, as well as funding to help students from underserved populations:

Nursing: The bill includes $280.4 million to support nurses in Oregon and across the country. Merkley led 36 senators in a letter to the committee leaders to push for an increase in federal funding for nursing workforce development. Oregon benefitted from nearly $2 million in program funding in prior years.

Child and Maternal Health: The bill includes $1 billion to for programs to improve maternal and child health, including $200 million to combat this country’s maternal mortality crisis.

Medical Research: The bill includes a $2.25 billion increase in funding for the National Institutes of Health, totaling more than $44.9 billion in the fight against cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and other devastating diseases.

Institute of Education Sciences: The bill includes $737 million to support innovation, evidence, and evaluation in education. Merkley led 17 senators in a letter to the committee advocating for this investment.

Migrant Students: The bill includes $96 million for programs for migrant students and seasonal farmworkers. Through this program, higher education and non-profit organizations can receive funding to give migrant and seasonal farmworkers and their children the opportunity to attend higher education or earn their GED. Oregon State University, Chemeketa Community College, Portland Community College, and Treasure Valley Community College receive funds through this program.

Accessible Education: The bill includes a $410 million, a $12.3 million increase, for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) program, including funding to assist states in providing a free, appropriate education for children with disabilities and provide support services for over 7.6 million students.

Students: The bill includes $1.14 billion for TRIO, a set of eight educational programs that supports students from first-generation college students and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds; as the first person in his family to go to college, Merkley knows firsthand the value of this type of support, and has been a fierce advocate for the funding.

Career Training: The bill includes $2.1 billion, a $62 million increase, for Career, Technical and Adult Education, which supports the workforce and economy by training young people to fill in-demand, twenty-first century jobs.

Community Services Block Grants: The bill includes $787 million for the program which provides critical support for rural Oregon communities. Merkley led 30 senators in a letter to the committee pushing to preserve and increase funding for the program.

Community Service: The bill funds AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers at $100.285 million; Senior Corps programs at $230.7 million; and State AmeriCorps grants at $466 million.

The next step for the bill is a full Senate vote, and eventually merging with a counterpart bill from the U.S. House of Representatives in order to be passed by both houses and signed into law.

In addition to the funding allotments above, Merkley and Wyden secured in the bill federal funding for specific community projects throughout Oregon, including:

  • $500,000 for Oregon Association of Relief Nurseries, for the prevention of child abuse.
  • $840,000 for Southern Oregon Success, for services to prevent abuse and neglect, homelessness, and addiction.
  • $1.276 million for Oregon Social Learning Center Developments Inc., to promote child welfare.          
  • $79,000 for the Council on Aging of Central Oregon, for equipment.
  • $232,000 for Easterseals Oregon, to support an outreach program.
  • $400,000 for Urban League of Portland, for workforce development and training.         
  • $500,000 for Oregon Tradeswomen, for expansion of registered apprenticeships.        
  • $500,000 for Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center, for career training and placement services.
  • $544,000 for Baker Technical Institute, for heavy equipment and trucking and logistics training programs, including the purchase of equipment. 
  • $165,000 for Northwest Mothers Milk Bank, for equipment.
  • $175,000 for Project Access NOW, for workforce development.
  • $189,000 for Trillium Family Services, for equipment.
  • $199,000 for the City of Elgin, for equipment.
  • $250,000 for Mano a Mano Family Center, for workforce development.
  • $500,000 for OCHIN, Inc., for equipment.
  • $503,000 for Oregon Coast Community College, for equipment.
  • $660,000 for La Pine Rural Fire Protection District, for equipment.
  • $850,000 for Bandon Community Health Center, for facilities and equipment.
  • $943,000 for Oregon Health & Science University, for equipment.
  • $1 million for Oregon Institute of Technology (Oregon Tech), to improve health care services.
  • $1 million for Parrott Creek Child & Family Services, for facilities and equipment.    
  • $1.3 million for Deschutes Rim Clinic Foundation, for facilities and equipment.
  • $1.5 million for Lane County, for facilities and equipment, with Representative DeFazio.
  • $2 million for Community Action Program of East Central Oregon, for facilities and equipment.
  • $2.124 million for Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center, for facilities and equipment, with Representative Bonamici.
  • $449,000 for Oregon State University, for professional learning opportunities in timber design.
  • $600,000 for Portland State University, for education and training programs in cybersecurity.
  • $50,000 for Winston Area Community Partnership, for the Winston Community Teen Center, including equipment.
  • $56,000 for Willamalane Park and Recreation District, for mobile technology lab, including equipment.     
  • $93,000 for Circle of Friends, for youth development and mentoring, including equipment.
  • $250,000 for Latino Network, for early childhood education.
  • $500,000 for College Possible, for college access programming, including technology and student support.
  • $645,000 for Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center (OMIC), for career and technical education, including equipment.
  • $900,000 for High Desert Education Service District, for expansion of a childhood trauma program.
  • $100,000 for Mental Health for Children, dba The Child Center, for the expansion of access to school-based mental health services.
  • $375,000 for Multnomah County, for behavioral health care services.
  • $433,000 for Lines for Life, for mental health care and crisis intervention services.
  • $459,000 for Oregon Center for Nursing, to support the mental health and emotional well-being of nurses.
  • $501,000 for Rogue Retreat, for services for individuals with mental health or substance use disorders.
  • $750,000 for Friends of the Children, for mental health care services to youth and families, with Representative Blumenauer.
  • $750,000 for Youth Rising Oregon, for substance abuse treatment for youth parents.
  • $800,000 to OHSU for the Northwest Native American Center of Excellence for a health workforce initiative, with Representative Blumenauer.
  • $850,000 to Cascade AIDS for behavioral health services, including medication assisted treatment, with Representative Blumenauer.
  • $1 million to Benton County for facilities and equipment for the Benton County Crisis Respite Center, with Representative DeFazio.
  • $260,000 to Salem Arts Association for arts education.
  • $187,000 to SMART Reading for literacy and adult mentoring program, including equipment.

“The trauma nurses have experienced through this pandemic has been well-documented, and impact it has had on the nursing workforce will be felt for many years to come,” said Jana Bitton, Executive Director of the Oregon Center for Nursing. “OCN’s RN Well-Being Project will work at a community level to support nurses’ mental and emotional health as we move toward the next normal. Many thanks to Senators Merkley and Wyden who have been a constant champion for nursing and nursing workforce in Oregon, for making this important work possible.”

“Building with mass timber offers the opportunity to lower our carbon emissions, reduce wildfire risk and create resilient, well-paying rural jobs,” said Iain Macdonald, Director of the Tall Wood Design Institute at Oregon State University. “However, to fully realize these benefits, construction managers and structural engineers also need access to specialized education and training. We are sincerely grateful to Senator Jeff Merkley and Senator Ron Wyden for championing a FY2022 congressionally directed spending investment to help OSU develop a first-of-its-kind, nationally-accessible professional development program on building with mass timber.”

“As our communities work to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, we have the opportunity to not only help our current clients find their footing, but also increase our programming to help around 500 families move from desperation to stability,” said Joe McFerrin II, President & CEO of Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center. “With this $500,000 in federal funding, we will be able to serve hundreds more through our culturally specific job training programs, ultimately placing them in living-wage careers in industries like construction, culinary arts, tech, and more. We thank Senator Merkley for working to secure this important funding for our community.”

“We can’t say enough how excited and thankful we are that Senators Merkley and Wyden successfully included the renovation and expansion of our youth residential care facilities in this spending bill,” said Simon Fulford, Executive Director of Parrott Creek Child & Family Services. “This project is part of our vision to become a regional center of excellence providing services to vulnerable children and families. Not only will it allow us to expand our services, we will be able to build new buildings using trauma-informed and environmentally sustainable design principles. Our communities will be feeling the long term impacts of the coronavirus pandemic for many years to come and this project will allow us to meet the behavioral health and related needs of highly traumatized children and youth for many, many years. The project is estimated to create 25 construction jobs in the short term and over 20 social care jobs upon completion. We thank Senators Merkley and Wyden for their leadership, and urge Congress to include this funding in the final bill.”

“With this CDS funding we are able to fully equip our new ambulance,” said Elgin Mayor Risa Hallgarth. “What a blessing to know our community emergencies will be responded to with complete confidence in our new vehicle and our emergency responders. A BIG thank you to all for making this happen.”

“Oregon Tradeswomen is grateful for the stellar leadership from Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley to ensure that all Oregonians, including the most vulnerable in our community, have access to job training and supports to be able to have a lifelong career that will support themselves and their families,” said Kelly Kupcak, Executive Director of Oregon Tradeswomen. “Investing in community-based programs such as Oregon Tradeswomen’s help put women to work, and we know that when women have economic security, it not only means that for her family, but for our broader communities because we know that strong women build strong communities. This historic investment will allow Oregon Tradeswomen to expand our training across Oregon and help put even more women to work in high-wage, high-skilled trades careers! Thank you to Senator Merkley for investing in our workforce and in our future.”

“I could not be more humbled and grateful to Senator Merkley, Senator Wyden and their staffs for selecting Rogue Retreat to receive funding that will further our program participants, specifically those struggling with mental health and substance abuse disorders,” said Chad McComas, Executive Director of Rogue Retreat. “We are delighted to work with so many worthy organizations that help us restore lives of homeless individuals, couples and families as well as strengthen the communities where we all live and work. Thank you to Senator Merkley and Senator for working hard on behalf of our participants, and all Oregonians so that the state we love to call ‘home’ continues to flourish and thrive.”

“We’re grateful to Senators Merkley and Wyden for advocating for this impactful investment in the kids of Oregon,” said Chris Otis, SMART Reading Executive Director. “This vital funding will help SMART Reading implement our virtual programming we developed in response to the pandemic. Our Virtual SMART delivery model has promising potential to extend our reach, engage students and volunteers in new ways, and eliminate geographical boundaries that we previously faced. Ultimately, this investment means more kids across our state will be prepared for reading and learning success.”

“Virginia Garcia’s first priority has always been to ensure access to high quality care for those who need it most. The expansion of the Newberg Clinic in Yamhill County will do just that,” said Virginia Garcia CEO, Gil Muñoz. “By growing the Newberg location we will be able to double the number of individuals we can provide medical, dental and pharmacy services to in that area as well as create a space where the community can gather. This expansion will also act as an economic stimulus for the area, allowing us to employ 13-15 more staff members. We are so grateful for the support of Senator Merkley and Senator Wyden on this project.”

“We are fortunate to have the support of Senator Merkley and Senator Wyden who value ALL youth in our state, especially those in rural communities,” said Nicole Swisher Woodson, Executive Director of Circle of Friends. “At Circle of Friends, we are honored to be granted this Project 92 funding and are excited to bring more opportunities to youth in need in our Sisters Country community.”

“Health center providers deserve essential technology to help their patients thrive by optimizing value and enhancing care delivery to meet the often more complex medical or social needs of those who seek their care,” said Jennifer Stoll, Executive Vice President of External Affairs at OCHIN. “We deeply appreciate U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden for supporting the OCHIN network, helping to sustain and transform community-based care into the future.”

“We know the root causes of so many things our children and families struggle with and we know that the only way we can effectively address them is through collaboration with all levels of education, health care, mental health care, human services, public safety and workforce development,” said Peter Buckley, program manager with Southern Oregon Success. “This funding means effective support for thousands of families throughout Southern Oregon.”

“These funds will allow us to develop virtual CTE training, which will enable us to support CTE programs in rural and low income school districts and in school districts that serve populations that do not traditionally enter into manufacturing careers,” said Craig Campbell, executive director, Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center. “For the workforce development efforts of the OMIC Initiative and its partners this is a game changer. I cannot show enough gratitude to Senator Merkley, Senator Wyden and Congresswoman Bonamici and their amazing staffs. They are truly serving Oregon!”

“We are honored to receive such a wonderful award in support of our continued expansion of services in Curry County,” said Linda Maxon, Chief Executive Officer, Coast Community Health Center. “These funds will directly support our delivery of health and wellness services to south Curry County. Our investment not only expands health care but brings economic investment and jobs to the region. We are grateful for our State and Federal Legislators continued trust in our ability to deliver on our commitment to the communities we serve.

“I’ve had the privilege to work with Coast Community Health since its conception and have long been an advocate to expand access to healthcare services that are desperately needed on the South Coast,” said State Rep. David Brock Smith (R-01). “I’m grateful to Senators Merkley and Wyden for their incredible advocacy for this funding to expand vital healthcare services to our residents through a dedicated partner with Coast Community Health.”

“Connecting rural and urban cybersecurity is a national priority,” said Portland State University Provost Susan Jeffords. “PSU’s excellence in education and research—as recognized by our partners at the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security—is uniquely qualified to make that connection. This investment allows PSU to expand workforce training, improve student success and strengthen security for the critical infrastructure in our state.”

“Thank you Senators Merkley and Wyden for sponsoring our need for new vehicles to improve the scope, response and delivery of respite care, Meals on Wheels, home safety inspections and case management for at risk older adults,” said Susan Rotella, executive director of the Council on Aging of Central Oregon. “The two new vehicles will allow our client services team to reach a large, rural population throughout the tri-county and provide critical client assessments to ensure that all seniors, and people with disabilities, are safe and can remain in their homes as long as possible.”

“The dangers of respiratory problems during times of wildfires are real and very prevalent in rural areas such as Klamath County,” said Oregon Tech president, Dr. Nagi Naganathan. “This funding will allow Oregon Tech faculty and students to conduct critical research on the resources needed to support respiratory care hospitalization during wildfires, improving response times and increasing collaboration with local, state, and federal agencies. Our sincere thanks go to Senators Merkley and Wyden for their advocacy for this important research about the impact of wildfires on Oregon’s healthcare systems.”

“This investment in our school-based mental and behavioral health services will fundamentally and profoundly shift our educational systems across Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties, including Warm Springs,” said Jim Boen, regional director of mental and behavioral health for the High Desert Education Service District. “It will dramatically strengthen our ability as educators to create school environments that nurture resilience by caring for all students and staff impacted by trauma. It will allow us to grow trauma-informed cultures of care for 45,000 children and youth ages 3-18 in our region and the dedicated educators and staff who serve them.”

“With the expansion of our heavy equipment and truck driving mobile programs, we will be able to reach more Oregonians that have not had the opportunity for this type of training, allowing them to pursue careers in fields that are in high demand,” said Doug Dalton, President of the Baker Technical Institute. “In turn, businesses will have access to a trained workforce that will build healthy communities and drive sustained economic growth in areas that desperately need it.”

“We are appreciative of the support of our work at Northwest Mothers Milk Bank,” said Lesley Mondeaux, Executive Director, Northwest Mothers Milk Bank. “Receiving direct congressional spending is an investment in the health of Oregon’s most vulnerable infants. Every baby deserves the best start in life.”

“Oregon Association of Relief Nurseries show up every day for our most vulnerable children and families,” said Cara Copeland, Executive Director at Oregon Association of Relief Nurseries. “We are deeply grateful to Senators Merkley and Wyden and their teams for their tireless effort to champion our children through the process. While we are currently serving 2,300 children across the state, we know that there are more than 6,500 than need our help. We know this investment will help us to elevate child abuse prevention across Oregon and expand our capacity to strengthen families.”

“The Connected Coast Virtual ICU project will extend OHSU’s critical care expertise to patients across Oregon,” said Joe Ness, M.H.A., BSPharm, senior vice president and chief operating officer for OHSU Health. “This federal investment will strengthen the capacity of community hospitals to care for critically ill patients, while allowing those patients to stay in their communities.