Phoenix College partners with nonprofit to financially support single moms in nursing program

A unique partnership with Phoenix College and Helping Hands for Single Moms is helping more women graduate into nursing careers.

Dr. Larry Johnson, president of Phoenix College, says he felt a personal connection with the nonprofit's cause when the two parties became acquainted with each other.

"My mom was a single parent, and it was critically important for me," said Johnson. "When students are arriving at the community college...I can connect them and be a bridge to resources that can help them be successful."

Dr. Johnson says a big boost in resources came from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona.

"Blue Cross Blue Shield Arizona gave us funds to really help many of these moms be supported while they are in school," said Johnson.

The health insurance giant has been a key partner and funding source since Helping Hands for Single Moms (HHSM) started scholarships for nursing programs, giving more than $141,000 to moms pursuing a college education.

Since 2002, HHSM has given away six million dollars in scholarships. In December 2020, the nonprofit celebrated 171 moms graduating from Valley nursing programs. Dr. Johnson says this new scholarship will help ten students overcome barriers to unlock their potential.

"We know the affordability of attending college - there are so many barriers in terms of the cost of attendance," Johnson said. "The resources that these students have received will help to remove many of those barriers that would have otherwise may have presented maybe an impediment for them."

The support and scholarships go a long way. Most moms coming into the program have an annual income of about $10,000. When they leave the program, it's usually with a job making five times more.

The program has had a 91% graduation rate in the last five years.

Apply for the scholarship here: