NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The pandemic has exacerbated workforce shortages across Connecticut, including in the healthcare field. On Thursday, Yale New Haven Health announced they are partnering with local universities to address the nursing shortage.

“We are facing an extensive nursing workforce shortage as well as a nurse educator work shortage,” said Lisa O’Connor, dean of the School of Nursing at Quinnipiac University.

Yale New Haven Health is teaming up with Southern Connecticut State University, Fairfield University, Quinnipiac University and Gateway Community College. Together, they will help increase the number of qualified nursing school candidates being enrolled and subsequently employed. 

“People want to come, they want to be nurses, it’s up to all of us to increase that educational capacity,” said Dr. Meredith Wallace Kazer, dean of Fairfield University Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies.

This partnership promises to graduate at least 557 additional nurses over the course of the next four years, in addition to those already enrolled. YNHHS is also committing approximately $1.7 million over the next four years to the collaboration to provide scholarships and books to students who otherwise would not be able to attend school.

“When we invest in our students, we invest in our neighborhoods because nearly every graduate from Southern’s nursing programs chooses to live in, work in our state after graduation,” said Sandra Bulmer, dean of the College of Health and Human Services at Southern Connecticut State University.

The hope is to develop an even stronger nursing workforce that is well-prepared for its transition to professional nursing practice.