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Mar 01, 2023

CT Health Horizons: Making an Impact on Statewide Workforce Shortage in Nursing & Social Work

Making an impact on the critical statewide workforce shortage in nursing and social work, by allocating $30.5 million to partner colleges and universities to expand faculty and provide tuition support for students.

The CT Health Horizons initiative is making an impact on the critical statewide workforce shortage in nursing and social work, by allocating $30.5 million to partner colleges and universities to expand faculty and provide tuition support for students, while creating strategic workforce partnerships.

CT Health Horizons, a three-year $35 million initiative, is 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 Connecticut Hospital Association. CT Health Horizons is also a collaboration between higher education institutions and healthcare provider partners to grow and diversify the next generation of nurses and social workers. 

“This collaboration is the first of its kind and a model for how we can work together in the future,” said CSCU President Terrence Cheng. “Over the course of three years, CT Health Horizons will provide or leverage tuition support for nursing and social work students and increase the diversity of students entering nursing and social work education. The program will also expand the number of faculty positions to enroll and graduate additional students and create innovative programs with healthcare providers and higher education institutions to build sustainable education and career pathways. In total, 20 nonprofit colleges and universities are receiving funding and represent all eligible nursing and social work programs in the state. This is truly a team effort.”

Approximately $30.5 million has been allocated to partner colleges and universities to support nursing and social work students and programs. Funding for this initiative was distributed through a competitive but collaborative process building on the strengths of different colleges and universities and ensuring all communities are impacted in the state.  This funding will be braided with resources that each school has now, such as federal financial aid and the Roberta Willis scholarship, to maximize the supports available for students and the impact that can be made  on the state’s workforce.  

Current funding includes:

More than 45 faculty are expected to be hired by year three of the CT Health Horizons initiative and an additional 1000 students provided with tuition support.  

“This investment from the state to grow and diversify our healthcare workforce could not come at a more critical moment,” said Amy Gorin, UConn Vice Provost for Health Sciences and Interdisciplinary Initiatives. “As the state’s flagship university, UConn will put the CT Health Horizons awards to immediate use to support and train nursing and social work students committed to helping the lives of Connecticut residents.”

“The CT Health Horizons grant program is an innovative and impactful investment of state resources to rapidly expand the nursing and social work talent pipeline,” said Jennifer Widness, CCIC President. “CCIC member institutions are so grateful to have the opportunity to participate in this program which leverages public and private dollars, promotes diversity and incentivizes employer partnerships to train and retain individuals in high-demand fields that are facing significant shortages.”  

Cornell Scott Health Center in New Haven is an example of a community healthcare provider who is working to train and educate social work students, and CT Health Horizons funding in partnership with Southern CT State University will help provide field placement experiences to train students. “Cornell Scott-Hill Health Center (CS-HHC) has served the primary medical, dental and behavioral health services needs of the greater New Haven community for almost 55 years,” said Michael R. Taylor, President & CEO, Cornell Scott-Hill Health Center. “We have evolved in direct response to community needs. CS-HHC has also served as an economic engine for underserved community residents and much of our effectiveness has been realized through strategic partnerships. This innovative partnership with the State of Connecticut and Southern Connecticut State University will educate, train and employ the next generation of social workers to meet those same community needs. We are honored and eager to participate.”

“Field placement shortages limit our ability to increase enrollment of MSW students who can meet critical workforce needs in Connecticut,” said Sandra Bulmer, Dean, College of Health and Human Services, Southern Connecticut State University. “Community agencies such as Cornell Scott and Clifford Beers struggle to allocate the considerable resources required to host and train our MSW students. This innovative program provides the financial support necessary for these agencies to deliver comprehensive placement experiences that position students for success as long term, resilient social work employees at their agencies.”

The 20 CT Health Horizons partner institutions represent nursing and social work programs statewide. They 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.


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.