HARTFORD—Today the state House of Representatives adopted an initiative launched by Rep. John Rigby that would allow Northwestern Connecticut Community College to seek federal stimulus money to help start its nursing program. “Local nursing education would be a huge boost for not only Winsted, but also the entire Northwest Corner,” Rigby said. “Aside from helping the critical nursing shortage, it will attract students to the area—people who will shop in our stores and eat in our restaurants. I’m glad my colleagues in the House recognized the importance of this effort.”The bill allows the college to apply for a spot on the list of projects eligible for federal stimulus money set aside for Connecticut. Rigby, a member of the legislature’s Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee, believes the college would be eligible for money from $200 million set aside for Health Care Workforce development.
Rigby in March saw the Higher Education committee give unanimous support to the concept. The House on Wednesday passed the bill 135-0. This legislation that’s so important to the Litchfield County now requires action from the senate.
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.
The school, through a private capital campaign, raised nearly $1 million on its own but had counted on state funding to close the gap in its efforts to creating a nursing lab, hire faculty and pay for other operational expenses.
Rigby, of Colebrook, stressed that the proposed legislation would only allow the college to apply for federal stimulus money and could not guarantee its allocation.