iBerkshires.com reports the demand for registered nurses is expected to grow by at least a quarter over the next decade or so — and the state is looking at 3,000 vacancies.

One way to help the deficit is growing the ranks of nursing professionals through a collaborative effort with Southern Vermont College down the road.

On Tuesday, the two institutions announced an affiliation that will create a pipeline for nursing students and provide opportunities for SVHC employees to further their educational opportunities.

The health care system, which operates Southern Vermont Medical Center, will affiliate with the college's four-year bachelor of nursing program.

The two entities will have some crossover in administrative titles and will provide the clinical setting for the program's students.

The affiliation will also eventually allow for an expansion of educational opportunities in the healthcare field.