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Practices with Promise Success Story

Submitted By: Linda Zorn, SN, Health, CCC

Transition to Practice Program Helps New RNs Improve Skills and Find Work

  • Type of Practice: Industry Engagement
  • Type(s) of Users Served: Associate Degree Students, Skills-Builders Students
  • Sector(s): Health
  • Momentum Point(s) & Leading Indicators : MP 28 (click here for description)
  • Regions Involved: Greater Sacramento, Inland Empire/Desert, Los Angeles, Northern Inland, Orange County
  • Colleges Involved: Butte College, Chaffey College, Golden West College, LA Harbor College, Mt San Jacinto College, Rio Hondo College, Riverside City College, Saddleback College, Sierra College
  • Other Organizations: Health Workforce Initiative; 31 healthcare industry clinical partners; two local workforce investment boards

The Challenge

Due to competition with experienced nurses in the workforce, who are either delaying retirement or returning to the workforce as a result of the economic recession, new graduate nurses are unable to secure jobs in the health care industry as registered nurses (RNs). According to a survey of 2012 and 2013 California new graduate RNs, 40.7% of respondents were not yet working as a RN. The survey also showed that lack of experience as a RN is reported to be the number one reason new graduates are challenged to secure employment. The concern for these RNs is that after being out of the clinical environment for a long period of time, they are at risk for losing their clinical skills, making them less marketable to employers.

The Solution

The New Graduate RN Transition Program is a collaborative program between the Health Workforce Initiative (HWI), industry partners, and community colleges. The program provides 240 hours of clinical experience for new graduate RNs who have been unemployed or underemployed for three months to one year. The new grad RN assumes the duties of an RN under the supervision of an experienced preceptor at an industry partner’s clinical site. Students are also formally enrolled in a college course (Cooperative Work Experience) and receive campus-based instruction. A professor maintains contact with the preceptor and student during the course. Local workforce investment boards may support participants with funding and services like child care.


The program gives RNs greater confidence in decision making for the management of safe and effective patient care. The program also gives RNs the opportunity for employment at the clinical site. In a follow-up survey sent to program participants, most respondents said they would recommend the program to other new grads. Many said the program helped them maintain and improve their nursing skills and gave them a true sense of what it is like working as a nurse. As a result of the success of the program, more colleges are interested in participating or offering a similar program.

The Data

Since summer of 2011, HWI has funded and coordinated 23 programs in the state in collaboration with nine community colleges, 31 industry partners, and two local workforce investment boards. The program has had 420 participants. Of those completing the program, 336 have been hired into RN positions. The overall hire rate is 80%.

Supporting Information

Click here to learn more about the Health Workforce Initiative

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Common Metrics

Leading Indicators

LI 1 Alignment of skillsets within a program (or set of courses) to a particular occupation and the needs of the labor market
LI 2 Regionalization of stackable certificates aligned with a particular occupation ladder
LI 3 Alignment of a certificate with state-, industry-, nationally-, and/or employer- recognized certification
LI 4 Creation of a credit certificate from non-credit certificate
LI 5 Curriculum articulation along a career or multi-career educational pathway
LI 6 Updating the skills of faculty, teachers, counselors, and/or “supporting staff to student” to reflect labor market needs
LI 7 Integration of small business creation and/or exporting modules into for-credit curriculum in other disciplines

Momentum Points

Middle School Cluster
MP 1Completed an individual career and skills awareness workshop in middle school that included a normed assessment process and was in a Doing What Matters priority or emerging sector
Transition from Middle School to High School
MP 2Completed a bridge program between middle school and high school and revised student career/education plan
MP 3Completed a student orientation and assessment program while in middle school or high school
High School Cluster
MP 4Completed one course in high school within a CTE pathway
MP 5Completed two or more courses in high school within a CTE pathway
MP 6Completed a CTE articulated course
MP 6aSuccessfully completed a CTE dual enrollment course or credit by exam, with receipt of transcripted credits
MP 7Completed a program in high school within a CTE pathway
Transition from High School to College Cluster
MP 8Completed a bridge program between high school and college in a CTE pathway
MP 9Completed college orientation and assessment as a first-time community college student who entered a community college CTE pathway
MP 10Transitioned from a high school CTE pathway to a similar community college CTE pathway
MP 11Transferred from a high school CTE pathway to a similar CSU, UC or private/independent university CTE pathway
MP 12Completed a counselor-approved college education plan, for first-time community college students who enter a CTE pathway
MP 13During high school, participated in an internship, work-based learning, mentoring, or job shadowing program in a CTE pathway
MP 14Percentage of community college students, who participated in a high school CTE pathway, whose first math or English course was below transfer-level
Community College Cluster
MP 15Completed two courses in the same CTE pathway
MP 16Retention rate between Fall and Spring within a CTE pathway
MP 17Completed a non-CCCCO-approved certificate within a CTE pathway
MP 18Completed a CCCCO-approved certificate within a CTE pathway
General Education and Transfer Progress Cluster
MP 19Completed a work readiness soft skills training program (either stand-alone or embedded) within a CTE pathway
MP 20Completed college level English and/or math, for students in a CTE pathway
MP 21Completed the CSU-GE or IGETC transfer track/certificate for students in a CTE pathway
MP 22Completed requirements in a CTE pathway, but did not receive a certificate or a degree
MP 23Completed an associate degree in a CTE major
MP 24Completed an associate degree in a major different from student’s college CTE pathway
MP 25Transferred from community college to a four-year university in the same CTE pathway
MP 26Transferred from community college to a four-year university in a major different from their CTE pathway
Community College Transition To Workforce Cluster
MP 27Participated in a college internship or workplace learning program within a CTE pathway
MP 28Attained a job placement in the same or similar field of study as CTE pathway
MP 29Acquired an industry-recognized, third-party credential
Workforce Progress Cluster
MP 30Attained a wage gain in a career in the same or similar CTE pathway
MP 31Attained wages equal to or greater than the median regional wage for that CTE pathway
MP 32Attained wages greater than the regional standard-of-living wage
MP 33Participated in incumbent worker training or contract education in a CTE pathway (for example training for layoff aversion, meeting heightened occupational credentialing requirement, transitioning employees whose occupations are being eliminated, or up-skilling existing employees)
MP 34Exception


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