ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — As part of a statewide effort to strengthen the healthcare workforce, Governor Kathy Hochul has announced a bonus program for eligible workers. It’s part of a billion-dollar section of the state budget for qualified employers and employees.

The bonuses will be rolled out for employees who qualify, which includes frontline healthcare and mental hygiene workers.

Gov. Hochul says this is a way to reward, recruit and retain those in the industry.

“Right now, we have about 9,300 openings for healthcare nurses, healthcare workers across the state and particularly registered nurses,” said Hochul.

With a continued gap in the field of healthcare, Gov. Hochul announced Wednesday the launch of a statewide bonus program for recruitment and retention. Hochul says it’s her goal to increase the workforce by 20 percent over the next five years.

“We still have to keep these healthcare workers,” she said. “They have been enticed to go to other states, they have other traveling nurses’ opportunities that are much more lucrative. So, just as a sign of our gratitude, but also just to lift their financial burden, we’re going to continue those programs as well.”

Bonuses will be granted to eligible healthcare or mental hygiene employees who make less than $125,000. Those workers must have maintained their positions for at least six months.

For example, employees who work at least 35 hours per week can receive a full bonus of $1,500 per vesting period.

Spokespersons for the University of Rochester Medical Center and Rochester Regional Health both tell News 8 they plan to submit necessary documentations by the state’s designated deadline.

The maximum amount a qualified employee can receive is up to $3,000 over two vesting periods. Those dates begin starting from October 2021.

For a complete list of eligible workers, visit the state department of health’s website.