Dozens of adults who are studying to be licensed practical nurses gathered in Hartford on Tuesday to ask Governor Rell to reconsider suspending an adult nursing program offered at 10 technical high schools in the state. WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil reports.
The students crowded into the press conference, wearing light green scrubs. 42 year-old Chantal Kouoh spoke on their behalf:
"Words are not enough to express how sad I am when I heard the news last Monday that the governor is suspending the program."
Governor Rell's administration is cutting the $1.7 million dollar LPN program to help close the budget deficit. Currently, there are 400 students enrolled. Rell says the state workforce already has enough LPNs and adults can get the training at other private programs. But, Kouoh, an immigrant from Camaroon says those programs are too expensive:
"As a single mother with very low income I can't really afford private school."
In a statement, Rell says the program was supposed to be self-supporting but today, tuition covers less than 20% of the program's cost. At the press conference, many of the students indicated they would be open to seeing their tuition double to almost $10,000 a year if the Governor agrees to preserve the program. Union leaders and the CT League for Nursing also pointed out that while there's a temporary job shortage now, the need for LPNs will increase by 2016 as baby boomers age.
For WNPR, I'm Lucy Nalpathanchil.