Federal funding will help close nursing shortage in Connecticut

[HARTFORD, CT] – Today, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and U.S. Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Jim Himes (D-CT) announced $2,997,368 million in federal funding for The WorkPlace in Bridgeport to train nurses and create equitable opportunities for frontline healthcare professionals. The funding is awarded through the U.S. Department of Labor’s Nursing Expansion Grant Program, designed to create equitable pathways to careers in nursing.

Over the next five years, The WorkPlace will train 200 entry-level nursing professionals through both classroom instruction and on-site experience. Participants can pursue either an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and be eligible to pursue a high-skilled nursing career upon completion of the program.

The universities and healthcare organizations participating in this training program include Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), Griffin Hospital, iCare, Hartford Health, Connecticut Hospital Association (CHA), Connecticut State Colleges and Universities, Goodwin University.

The nursing profession faces significant staffing challenges as the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an average of 203,200 openings for registered nurses each year through 2031. A report shows that Connecticut needs 3,000 new registered nurses a year, but nursing schools in the state are graduating only 1,900 new candidates.

“This milestone grant will help train a new generation of nurses— meeting an urgent need to support health care heroes who feel overworked and overwhelmed. New nurses are especially necessary in communities with health care worker shortages, a result of superhuman burdens and burnout. Nobody does skill training better than The Workplace and we’re proud to have them as a partner. Each of these new nurses will be a force multiplier in the battle for better health outcomes,” said Blumenthal.

“This investment affirms our support for the training and mentorship of future health professionals from underrepresented backgrounds,” said DeLauro. “Through this funding we will be able to expand the nursing workforce pipeline by addressing education, practice, recruitment, and retention, while focusing on the health needs of underserved communities. It will bring greater employment equity in Connecticut and improve healthcare workforce diversity in our state – all while improving health outcomes for residents of our state.”

“It’s hard to imagine a more impactful program than one that connects unemployed individuals with pathways to careers and financial security, especially in a field as essential as nursing,” said Himes. “I’ll continue to work as hard as possible to bring back federal dollars to my district so that exceptional programs like The WorkPlace can achieve their mission of strengthening the workforce and making lives better in Bridgeport and across the state.”

“Healthcare is one of Connecticut’s largest employment sectors, but the combination of an aging workforce, employee turnover, and the COVID-19 pandemic has strained an already fragile system,” said Joseph Carbone, President, and CEO of The WorkPlace. “This funding will enable the upskilling of entry-level healthcare professionals to middle and high-skill positions such as LPNs and RNs. By leveraging our Health Career Academy, we will provide training pathways utilizing a high-quality curriculum resulting in more credentialed workers for the industry.”

The WorkPlace serves as the workforce development board for Southwestern Connecticut, helping prepare people for careers while strengthening the workforce for employers.

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