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WCSU receives CT Health Horizons grant to benefit Nursing program

WCSU Nursing students

WCSU Nursing studentsDANBURY, Connecticut — Western Connecticut State University is one of 20 colleges/universities in Connecticut slated to receive a share of CT Health Horizons, a three-year, $30.5 million initiative created in a partnership between the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU), the state’s Office of Workforce Strategy (OWS), the University of Connecticut (UConn), the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges (CCIC), multiple state agencies and the Connecticut Hospital Association.

The CT Health Horizons initiative seeks to impact the critical statewide workforce shortage in nursing and social work by allocating funds to partner colleges and universities to expand faculty, provide tuition support for students and create strategic partnerships.

WCSU will receive $1.6 million over the next three years that will be allocated as follows: $810,000 to hire faculty for the university’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner programs, $200,000 in scholarships for the BSN program, and $250,000 in scholarships for the Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner program. The university is preparing to start an accelerated nursing program in 2024 once all approvals have been received, and there will be $400,000 in scholarships for students with a completed degree in an applicable science who have completed the prerequisites for the Nursing program to add one year of studies in order to receive a BSN.

Dr. Joan Palladino, Interim Dean of WCSU’s School of Professional Studies, which houses the Nursing Department, said, “The funds from this grant will enable us to hire more staff, including a clinical coordinator to assist with clinical placements, and Psych NP faculty for next year.”

Across the state, the initiative aims to provide funding for:

Hiring nursing faculty at 17 schools, as nursing programs can only accept one quarter of qualified students due to lack of faculty and clinical placement.

Nursing tuition support at 16 schools, with a priority on accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree programs.

Master of Social Work (MSW) tuition support at six schools and hiring of faculty at five schools.

Licensed clinical social workers are the most needed positions in the behavioral health workforce.

Support for innovative nursing programs at seven schools, and innovative social work programs at four schools with a 50 percent match from employer partner or in-kind support.

More than 45 faculty are expected to be hired by year three of the CT Health Horizons initiative and an additional 1,000 students provided with tuition support.

The 20 CT Health Horizons partner institutions representing nursing and social work programs statewide include: Albertus Magnus College; Central Connecticut State University; Charter Oak State College; CT State Community College; Eastern Connecticut State University; Fairfield University; Goodwin University; Quinnipiac University; Sacred Heart University; Southern Connecticut State University; University of Bridgeport; University of Hartford; University of St. Joseph; Western Connecticut State University; Yale University; University of Connecticut, Storrs; UConn Avery Point, Stamford and Waterbury campuses; and UConn School of Social Work. CCIC institutions will receive a total of $15,892,910, CSCU will receive a combined $8,496,900, and UConn’s multiple campuses will receive a total of $6,145,773.

For more information, contact Dr. Joan Palladino at palladinoj@wcsu.edu or WCSU Public Relations at pr@wcsu.edu.



Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.


Connecticut Health Horizons is funded through the federal American Rescue Plan Act – Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Funds awarded to the State of Connecticut by the U.S. Department of the Treasury (FAIN: SLFRP0128). CT Health Horizons is a collaborative partnership that includes Connecticut State Colleges and Universities, the Office of Workforce Strategy, multiple state agencies, the University of Connecticut, the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges, and the Connecticut Hospital Association. Please visit CSCU – Ct Health Horizons for more information.