HARTFORD — Northwestern Connecticut Community College in Winsted moved a step closer today to application for federal money to jump-start its nursing program when state senators approved legislation crafted by state Rep. John Rigby. The state senate adopted H.B. 6336, An Act Concerning Nurses Pursuing Advanced Degrees, which carried an amendment submitted by Rigby during a March meeting of the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee (see attached file.) The bill now goes to Gov. M. Jodi Rell for consideration.“This is great news for the college and the entire Northwest Corner,” Rigby said.
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 Committee, believes the college would be eligible for money from $200 million set aside for Health Care Workforce development.
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, has raised nearly $1 million on its own but needs more money for its efforts to create a nursing lab, hire faculty and pay for other operational expenses.
“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 and Senate recognized the importance of this effort.”
Rigby in March saw the Higher Education committee give unanimous support to the concept, and last month the House passed the bill 135-0.
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.