Ecumen Bethany Community in Alexandria recently handed out the first award through its Ecumen Scholars program. The program is a workforce development partnership between Ecumen and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) to help address a shortage of senior care nurses in rural areas.

Mary Moore, who recently celebrated her first-year anniversary as a nurse at Ecumen Bethany Community, received a $2,000 bonus as a participant in the Ecumen Scholar program. She was awarded her practical nursing diploma in December 2014 from Alexandria Technical and Community College, where she qualified as an Ecumen Scholar.

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Ecumen Scholars are eligible for financial bonus payments when they complete their clinical rotations, fellowship or internship with Ecumen and are hired in a full-time LPN or RN position at an eligible Ecumen rural site within one year of graduation.

Bonus payments are awarded at the one-year, three-year, five-year and 10-year anniversaries of the start date. Amounts increase at each of these anniversary years, totaling up to $20,000.

"Ecumen believes in hiring and investing in dedicated, passionate people like Mary Moore who make our communities great places to live and work," said David Uselman, executive director of Ecumen Bethany Community. "The Ecumen Scholars program is a great way for students to learn about long-term care while advancing their careers."

For more information about the Ecumen Scholars, go to