California training program helps nurses level up in salary

A California program can help licensed vocational nurses — with a starting salary of $55,000 in the state — train to become registered nurses and make a starting salary around $110,000, The Sacramento Bee reported Sept. 26. Now, the state's Labor and Workforce Development Agency aims to spend $480 million — and the next three years — building similar apprenticeship programs. 

The Local 1000 program was launched in 2017 by Washington, D.C.-based Service Employees International Union, according to its website. The program trains licensed vocational nurses to work as registered nurses for Elk Grove-based California Correctional Health Care Services, covering many of their expenses with a grant. 

More than 50 apprentices have been registered across three California community colleges: Sacramento City College, San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton and Riverside City College, which also offers distance learning. Licensed vocational nurses keep their permanent positions while gaining registered nurse skills through classroom theory, clinical experience and on-the-job training, according to the program's website. 

The program fills a gap for state workers who can not find a way to become a registered nurse while working at a 24-hour facility, Sarah Ginn, who heads the union's apprenticeship programs, told the Bee

The California Apprenticeship Initiative, launched by Gov. Gavin Newsom, aims to institute similar programs across various industries statewide, the Bee reported. 

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