Northwestern Connecticut Community College in Winsted could seek federal stimulus money to help launch its nursing program according to a bill shepherded through the Higher Education & Technology Committee on Tuesday by state Reps. John Rigby and Roberta Willis. Rigby (R-63) received unanimous committee support for an amendment that would allow the college to apply for a spot on the list of “shovel ready” projects eligible for economic stimulus money set aside for Connecticut.NCCC needs roughly $340,000 for a program that municipal officials say would give the regional economy a much-needed shot in the arm. The legislation must receive approval from the State House of Representatives.
“I know the communities in my district would benefit from this program almost immediately,” said Rigby, explaining that it would create jobs for people who would spend money in the area.
“Spending money on this program is economic development in its purest forum,” he said.
College officials have sought the creation of a nursing program in Winsted to address the statewide shortage of nurses as well as a dearth of Northwest Corner training opportunities for people interested in the profession. At present, students must drive far outside the area for such courses—if they’re able to get a seat.
Rigby noted Tuesday that potential nursing students face significant waiting lists.
Willis, chairperson of the committee, has long championed the creation of nursing program in Winsted and was instrumental Tuesday in providing details of its long history to legislators who had questions.
The school, through a private capital campaign, raised nearly $1 million on its own and had counted on $340,000 in state bond money that had been approved but not delivered.
Connecticut is set to receive roughly $2 billion in federal stimulus funds and Rigby, of Colebrook, believes the college would be eligible for money from a $200 million earmark for Health Care Workforce.
Both Willis (D-64) and Rigby stressed that the proposed legislation would only allow the college to apply for federal stimulus money and could not guarantee its allocation.