Gold Star Program
Antelope Valley College
Antelope Valley College (AVC) earned Gold Star recognition under the Strong Workforce Stars program for its Registered Nursing (RN) program. The Gold Star is the Strong Workforce Stars’ highest recognition and is awarded to career education programs that meet each of three criteria related to student outcomes that help move the needle on workforce development. Specifically, students who participate in this program boost their earnings by 114%, 89% attain the regional living wage, and 94% report securing a job closely related to their field of study.
AVC administration attributes strong workforce outcomes to several key characteristics. Industry support is one example. Nursing Program Director Elizabeth Sundberg shares, “We have a lot of support from the community, the administration, and the faculty. The community as a whole values the nursing program because we have a couple of hospitals and we're really the only community college in this area.” The support from local hospitals directly benefits the RN program and its students, providing “...top priority to our RN students as far as placement (clinical experience) in the hospital. And that's huge because, you know, if you can't get good clinical experience for your students, they're not going to learn. We've been very fortunate in that respect. A lot of our students get hired because they live in the area, and they have actually done a lot of their student work at the hospital.”
While still offering curriculum/courses mandated by the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN), the program has also aligned its curriculum with California State University (CSU) requirements, like requiring statistics, so that students take transferable courses that they can apply toward another degree or certificate (i.e., Bachelor's degree). Ms. Sundberg estimates that about 80% of AVC RN students pursue their Bachelor’s degree in nursing. Formal articulation agreements between the RN program and Bachelor's degree programs often lead to discounted tuition for AVC students who choose to further their education. CSU Bakersfield, CSU Northridge, University of Phoenix, Azusa Pacific University, and Chamberlain University are some of the universities that AVC RN program graduates attend.