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EIU Media Relations

EIU and SBLHS join forces to enhance career training & trajectory programs


Corporate partnership uniquely blends academics, resources, scholarship opportunities

(Charleston, IL) – Eastern Illinois University (EIU) and Sarah Bush Lincoln (SBL) are partnering to broaden academic access and provide unique scholarship opportunities to current and future SBL employees in the region.

In the agreement, EIU will provide current and future hopeful employees of SBL with information and access to materials, resources and scholarships for those interested in beginning or enriching their careers in healthcare. As a corporate partner, SBL will share the availability of EIU programs with its current employees through employee benefit and education fairs, the Sarah Bush Lincoln intranet and website, newsletters, and home mailings. In addition, SBL will extend tuition assistance to its employees per company guidelines and provide programmatic and career-based input at EIU’s annual College of Health and Human Services advisory board meetings.

EIU, in turn, will offer reciprocal resources and information to SBL employees on the University’s academic programs, provide academic advising and evaluations of transfer credits, and disburse up to $1,000-per-individual annual scholarships for new students who enroll in one of EIU’s pre-approved online undergraduate and degree completion study programs. Students who participate in the partnership program must maintain satisfactory progress in the program to maintain eligibility.

“This partnership reinforces EIU’s need to support and meet the workforce needs of our community and Sarah Bush Lincoln,” said Jay Gatrell, president of Eastern Illinois University. “As one of the region’s largest employers, Sarah Bush Lincoln is a critical service provider and central to our local economy’s success. EIU is excited to move forward with Sarah Bush Lincoln as we strengthen the communities across East Central Illinois.” 

“We are excited to work with Eastern Illinois University as it helps us develop a stronger workforce, while giving our employees and EIU students with course work for career opportunities and the scholarship dollars to help them achieve their dreams,” SBL President & CEO Kim Uphoff said.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, overall employment in healthcare occupations is projected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations, with about 1.8 million openings projected each year, on average. According to, the average health care worker salary range in the United States typically falls between $44,274 and $66,508. Salary ranges can vary widely depending on many factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, and experience.

Those seeking more information about the partnership, including the program’s eligibility requirements, are encouraged to contact Kenia Gonzalez, EIU degree completion coordinator. Gonzalez can be reached via email at, or by phone at (217) 581-5027.

Sarah Bush Lincoln is a 150-bed, not-for-profit, regional health system centrally located in East Central Illinois' Coles County. The Health Center provides a full range of services to residents of Coles County and the surrounding nine counties with a home health service network that extends to 20 total counties in East Central and Southern Illinois. SBL also owns and operates SBL Fayette County Hospital in Vandalia. Employing nearly 3,000 area residents, SBL promotes a culture of excellence through continuing personal and professional growth.

EIU prepares students to accomplish their life goals through a combination of quality academics, personal relationships, and both on-campus and online learning opportunities. For more information about Eastern Illinois University, including its broad array of academic and career readiness programs, or any of EIU’s other community-based services and opportunities, visit or call EIU’s public information office at (217) 581-7400.



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Contact Information

Media Relations
Josh Reinhart,
Public Information Coordinator

Booth House
Eastern Illinois University
600 Lincoln Ave.
Charleston, IL 61920

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