Citing critical shortage of healthcare workers, governor offers $72 million for training
To address nursing and healthcare shortages, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) has proposed allocating $72 million from the state’s coronavirus relief funds to help students and universities that train nurses and health care workers.
Although the measure still needs to be approved by the state legislature, Lamont’s plan includes $20 million in student tuition support, $35 million to increase the number of faculty in health care programs healthcare and $17 million in student loan forgiveness, the Connecticut Examiner reported.
Long-term care facilities have been particularly hard hit by an ongoing shortage of healthcare workers, healthcare leaders said at a meeting of the nursing homes financial advisory committee earlier this year. Matthew Barrett, president of the Connecticut Association of Health Care Facilities, the state’s largest association of long-term care organizations and the state affiliate of the American Health Care Association, said the worker shortage of health prevents operators from returning to full occupancy.
Kelli Vallieres, state workforce manager at the Office of Workforce Strategy, said at a press conference Thursday that the state is facing “a critical shortage.” nurses and other health care workers. At the start of this year, she said, health care and social care positions had more job openings than any other type of job in the entire state, the Connecticut Examiner reported. .
According to Vallieres, the current nursing programs in the state cannot keep up with demand – although 12,000 students want to enroll in nursing or health care programs, only 2,800 places are available – this which means that less than one in four students who apply are accepted into one of these programs.
“We produce about 1,000 fewer students each year than we need to meet the current demand for nursing each year,” Vallieres said.
Early in the pandemic, Connecticut began taking steps to address the upcoming shortage of healthcare workers. In March 2020, the state Department of Health launched an initiative to allow for “temporary nurse aide” certification for workers to obtain a permit to work as Connecticut Certified Nurse Aides through an AHCA eight-hour training program.