Gold Star Program
Allan Hancock College
Allan Hancock College (AHC) earned Gold Star recognition under the Strong Workforce Stars program for its LVN-RN Nursing 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 319%, 100% attain the regional living wage, and 100% report securing a job closely related to their field of study.
AHC attributes the program’s success to its industry-driven, faculty-led, and student-centered approach. To start, AHC structures the program calendar differently from other nursing programs, starting in the spring and ending in the fall. That way, students are positioned to enter the workforce in December with less competition, given that other local programs typically end in spring. Nursing faculty Larry Manalo additionally shares that the program offers students a range of supports to promote students’ persistence and completion once in the program, stating, “We have a lot of college services such as learning assistance, library, and writing lab and math lab. We have tried many things such as open practice times in the skills lab, which offers the students time to interact with instructors and develop new skills. Open faculty office hours allow them to address any issues (social or personal) that they might face.” Most faculty also teach as clinical educators at the facilities where the students are placed, helping to bridge students’ clinical and didactic learning.
Students’ training also ensures they are well-positioned to meet the demands of a clinical environment as they transition from LVN to RN status. The students participate in a preceptorship at Marriott Regional Medical Center or in San Luis Obispo, Lompoc, and other cities with community and public health facilities, including the Atascadero Department of State Hospitals. As students complete and prepare to transition to employment, AHC offers a supplemental licensure exam review in January to help students bolster their test taking skills and readiness.
The program’s advisory committee actively guides AHC’s content and delivery and was instrumental in applying changes to the curriculum based upon changes in the electronic health records policy at local institutions where the students might ultimately work. Donations of equipment for the simulation lab from local medical facilities and grant opportunities have allowed for students to have greater access to real-world opportunities.