Scholarship presentation part of summit on critical need for skilled nurses

Kinnser Software, a leading home health software company, is presenting Austin Community College a total of $1 million to provide scholarships for hundreds of nursing students. The scholarship presentation was part of a summit and information session to raise awareness of the critical need for more nurses in Texas and across the country.

Chris Hester, president and founder of Austin-based Kinnser Software, created the Kinnser Scholars Program at ACC with a $225,000 gift in 2011. The additional donation will bring the scholarship fund to $1 million, covering tuition, fees, and program expenses for 400 nursing students through 2027.

“Nursing is the fastest-growing, most secure career field in America, and the need for nurses will only grow as baby boomers age,” says Hester. “ACC does a fantastic job of preparing knowledgeable, skilled nurses, and Kinnser Software is pleased to partner with the college to give hard-working students added support to help them reach their full potential.”

ACC offers training for Certified Nurse’s Aide, Vocational Nursing, and Registered Nursing – producing hundreds of new nurses every year, including more than 250 registered nurses. The college’s Associate Degree Nursing graduates have an RN exam pass rate that is consistently between 90 and 100 percent.

“Kinnser’s generosity will change many lives – for both deserving students and the patients they will care for as the next generation of nurses,” says Corby Jastrow, board chair for the Austin Community College Foundation. “We thank Kinnser Software for its commitment to ACC and for taking away one significant barrier so many students face.”

Community Colleges Are Positioned to Respond to Nursing Shortage

ACC and other community colleges play a key role in educating the nursing workforce. One of the hallmarks of community colleges is the ability to rapidly respond to changing workforce needs, and ACC ensures alignment with the latest nursing industry developments by partnering with all major area hospitals and other health care providers.

Expert professionals, current Kinnser Scholars, and prospective nursing students gathered at ACC on April 16 for the summit addressing the state of the industry and nursing education. The event included a panel discussion on issues including the challenges facing new professionals, the role of technology, and how nurses can stay current on developments in the medical field.

“Nursing is a fulfilling and challenging profession, and now is the time to get trained for the groundswell of openings we will see in the years to come,” says Dr. Stacey Cropley, director of nursing practice for the Texas Nurses Association and moderator of the panel discussion. “Ensuring a sufficient pipeline of skilled nurses will have a tremendous positive impact on our quality of life.”

Current Facts on Growing Job Market:

• Ten thousand Americans and nearly 700 Texans will turn 65 and age into Medicare every day for the next twenty years.

• Demand for full-time RNs in Texas exceeds supply by 22,000. This could expand to a shortage of more than 70,000 RNs by 2020. Source: Texas Center for Nursing Workforce Studies

• Registered Nursing is the top occupation for job growth through 2020. The number of employed nurses is expected to grow from 2.74 million in 2010 to 3.45 million in 2020 – up 26 percent. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

• From 2012 to 2022, vocational nursing employment is expected to increase by 25 percent. Nursing assistant employment is expected to increase by 21 percent. The average for all occupations is 11 percent. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Legacy of Kinnser Scholars 

Since its launch, the Kinnser Scholars Program has awarded nursing scholarships to 45 students, with nearly two dozen already graduated. Scholars are encouraged to work in nursing environments while they pursue their degrees, and many have secured positions with top employers including St. David’s HealthCare and the Seton Family of Hospitals.

The priority application deadline for the Kinnser Scholars Program is May 1. For more information and to complete the ACC general scholarship application, visit

About the Austin Community College Foundation:
The Austin Community College Foundation was established to expand higher education and training throughout the Austin Community College District. Its mission is to raise funds to ensure student success and to develop community support for the college. The ACC Foundation is led by a volunteer board of business and community leaders whose dedication to education allows for the growth of college initiatives.  Over $12 million has been raised through the Foundation to support programs and scholarships.