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Borderland Hospitals Works to Encourage Employees to Stay

EL PASO, Texas — The Covid-19 pandemic has left the healthcare industry with a lingering problem: staffing shortages. Hospitals across the border are struggling not only to find people to work, but also to keep them.

University Medical Center is just one of those local hospitals trying to get creative when it comes to enticing staff. There are two new programs available for staff to hopefully convince them to engage with the healthcare system, the CARES Student Loan Program and the CARES Pull-Opp Program.

Under the first program, UMC will pay current employees’ student loans up to $5,000 each year they commit to working with the hospital.

Under the second program, UMC will award $10,000 to any UMC employee, whether an engineer or maintenance staff, interested in earning their nursing degree.

This will allow them to be paid to go to work and to be able to go to school. However, employees must commit to working for the hospital for several years.

UTEP is just one of the educational partners of the CARES Pull-Opp program and will offer two pathways for employees who wish to graduate.

“When you talk to students who are probably going to one of El Paso’s health care programs, one of the big challenges is that most of our students work full-time or part-time, and they go to school full-time or part-time,” said Dr. Leslie Robbins, Dean of UTEP’s School of Nursing. “It makes it incredibly difficult because it’s very tough courses and very tough programs. By having this great opportunity to split that 50/50, it allows them to have a greater chance of success. So we’re delighted for UMC employees to have this opportunity.”

It’s not just UTEP. The El Paso Community College and Texas Tech University Health Science Center also play important roles.

A hospital spokesperson said the money to fund these programs came from existing operating funds.

So far, only 11 people have been accepted into the CARES Pull-Opp program.

“This is really just an opportunity for us to inspire people not only to complete their education, but also for us to support them and ensure greater respect, responsiveness and receptivity to stay at the UMC,” said UMC spokesman Ryan Mielke.

If you are a UMC employee and would like to apply for the CARES Student Loan Program, please contact Monica Armendariz. Call the hospital and dial the extension. 7037.

If you are interested in the CARES Pull-Opp program, email Nellie Flores at

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