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Funding will allow rural community colleges to train more nurses and allied health professionals

(Washington, DC)-U.S. Senators Judd Gregg and Jeanne Shaheen today announced that their request to fund portable health care training equipment for White Mountains Community College and River Valley Community College has been approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee. The $500,000 Gregg and Shaheen secured will allow the rural community colleges to train more nurses and allied health professionals.  These funds were included in the Fiscal Year 2010 Labor, Health and Human Services appropriations bill, which is now ready for consideration by the full Senate. The funding is included within the Committee allocation set out for the Fiscal Year 2010 spending measures.

Senator Gregg stated, "Hospitals and doctor's offices throughout New Hampshire continue to feel the impacts of a growing nursing shortage, which is particularly challenging in the underserved, rural parts of our state.  These funds will provide much needed assistance to local community colleges so they can train greater numbers of Granite State residents to become nurses and health professionals and also expose these students to state-of-the-art technology so they can best serve patients in rural areas."

"Increasing training opportunities for nurses and health professionals will allow more people across New Hampshire to find work in this growing field, and will improve the delivery of care throughout the rural parts of the state," said Shaheen. "We must continue to support programs like this that recognize the needs of a community, and work within that community to build a highly trained workforce."

"New Hampshire's community colleges train over half the state's nursing graduates," said Richard Gustafson, chancellor of the Community College System of New Hampshire.  "This funding will support our efforts to modernize the teaching environments, particularly at our rural colleges, to ensure our nursing students graduate with a high level of current technology and knowledge. 

"Nationally, community colleges are being recognized as vital elements in the higher education and career training landscape, particularly in high-demand fields like health care," added Gustafson.  "We are very grateful for the Senators' efforts to improve New Hampshire's nursing education facilities.  The benefits of this funding will extend to the thousands of people served by nurses in this state, now and into the future."

The funding will provide nursing and other allied health profession training within the regions served by New Hampshire's two rural community colleges - White Mountains Community College and River Valley Community College. Funds will be used to purchase and deploy mobile simulation equipment, related instructional equipment and technology to increase the number of students the colleges can train in these growing fields. This project will help to strengthen the delivery of health profession training in rural areas, and provide training-in-place for the current rural health care workforce.