Investments in California's Workforce
In This Issue:
Health Workforce Initiative: New Name, New Logo!
Collaborating with Business
Innovative Strategies:
Greening of Hospitals & San Diego County Strategies for New RN Grads
Professional Development Workshops
New Resource:
Curriculum Downloads

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Health Workforce Initiative - New Name and New Logo

Formerly the Regional Health Occupations Resource Center (RHORC), the California Community College Economic and Workforce Development program has changed its name to more closely reflect its mission and objectives in serving both community college allied health programs and the health care workforce.

The mission of the Health Workforce Initiative is to promote the advancement of California's health care workforce through quality education and services.

Five major activities will comprise the work of the Health Workforce Initiative:
  1. Facilitate education and industry partnerships related to the identified allied health shortages.
  2. Partner with key stakeholders in the California Healthcare Reform Workforce Workgroup.
  3. Partner with the Health and Science Pipeline Initiative to disseminate the high school science and math preparation curriculum statewide (
  4. Collaborate with the Health Information Technology workforce training in collaboration with the US Health and Human Services (HHS) grant Community College Consortia to Educate Health Information Technology Professionals awarded to Los Rio Community College District .
  5. Partner with Regional Community Colleges and other educational providers and regional advisory groups to facilitate new program and curriculum development; curriculum revision; faculty and staff development; and other activities as needed in response to the identified priority allied health shortage occupations and Health Care Reform workforce needs.
HWI Center Contacts:
Linda Zorn - Initiative Director -
Trudy Old - Butte College -
Christina Oborn - Mission College -
Patricia Duffy - Santa Barbara City College -
Mary O'Connor - Golden West College -
Ann Durham - Grossmont College -

For more information about the Health Workforce Initiative, go to

Regional Programs & Business Partnerships

Orange County

Two programs that have included successful business partnerships and have had an impact on the healthcare workforce for Southern CA are short-term training for incumbent nurses in specialty areas and preceptor preparation programs. The Health Workforce Initiative (HWI) at Golden West College (GWC) has assisted 16 local hospitals in training new registered nurses and incumbent nurses to work in the specialty areas of critical care and telemetry. The HWI offers the didactic/classroom portion of the training, while the participating hospitals pay their employees to attend and provide a paid clinical internship at their own facilities. Simulation experiences have been included in the program over for the last two years. The simulation experiences provide the opportunity for students to practice the concepts learned in the didactic portion in a safe and supportive environment. The HWI program is the only specialty nurse program which provides this opportunity. The participating hospitals depend on the HWI Specialty programs and would not be able to hire new grad nurses into critical care or telemetry without these preparatory courses. Over the last two years, HWI has prepared 112 critical care and 68 telemetry specialty nurses in the greater Orange County area.

The HWI also provides the Preceptor Instructor "train-the-trainer" course which is a two-day highly interactive workshop to educate faculty, clinical educators and senior preceptors from nursing and allied health. The participants then go back to their own schools and facilities and implement programs and specific strategies which better prepare their own faculty and staff to provide clinical training for new hires and students. Preceptors must be well versed in their roles of role model, educator, facilitator and evaluator. Well-prepared preceptors who provide the one-on-one initial clinical training are crucial to the development and success of students and new employees and also assist in retention and job satisfaction. The HWI-GWC continues to supply the learning materials to hospitals that implement these programs. In the past two years, the HWI has prepared 145 educators or senior preceptors from 28 clinical facilities and 8 colleges in Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The curriculum which is available on CD has been widely distributed throughout the state.

North Far North

A three-way collaboration between Enloe Medical Center, the Health Workforce Initiative, and the Northern Rural Training Employment Consortium (the local workforce investment board) created a unique blend of training for the North Far North region.

Enloe Medical Center defined the need for several areas of nurse specialty training. Staff from Enloe developed the programs in collaboration with the Butte College Health Workforce Initiative.

A Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification Review Course was offered twice regionally with a total of 138 RN participants from the North Far North Region. With the NoRTEC grant funds the class was offered for a nominal fee to the health care providers in the region. Other RN specialty courses offered through this program included:
  • Strategies for Excellence in Stroke Care Class - 45 participants
  • Critical Care - 40 participants
  • Basic Arrhythmia - 60 participants
  • ACLS Classes - 100 participants
  • Computer Skills classes in preparation for EHR implementation - 130 participants
Partnerships like this are critical in advancing the health care workforce in the state of California.

South Coast

HWI, South Coast, would like to acknowledge and express appreciation for the following industry partners who provided support for the Center for Nursing Expansion - Governor's WIA grant, 2005-2010 (Phase I):
  • Arroyo Grande Community Hospital
  • French Medical Center
  • Marian Medical Center
  • Mee Memorial
  • Regional Medical Center
  • Cities Community Hospital
  • El Centro Regional
  • Cottage Health Systems
  • Regional Medical Center
  • Community Hospital
  • County Medical Center
  • WIB, Santa Barbara County
  • Hospital Assn of Southern California (HASC)
The support of these partners made it possible for the 5-college partnership of Allan Hancock College, Cuesta College, Moorpark College, Santa Barbara City College, and Ventura College, to not only qualify for and receive this grant in the first place, but also to successfully meet its goals - the most significant goal being the enrollment of 196 additional A.D.N. students!

Phase II of the Center for Nursing Expansion - Governor's WIA grant (2010-2014) is currently in progress and experiencing the same success through the partnership of the same colleges and the same industry partners (coordinated and directed by HWI, South Coast). Together, we make extraordinary things happen!

Bay Area

According to Kaiser Permanente, an estimated 20 percent of the Northern California KP workforce was not comfortable using computers. With the shift to more use of computers at work as a standard in the health care workplace, KP was interested in offering computer training to its employees.

Working with Kaiser Permanente's Office of Labor Management Partnership in Oakland, California, the Bay Area Health Workforce Initiative (HWI) at Mission College in Santa Clara, CA, taught basic computer skills to KP employees beginning in the fall 2009. This initial effort was so successful that additional courses in Word and Excel were scheduled. Approximately 160 South Bay Kaiser employees enrolled in the program. The classes were voluntary, usually with 20 students and were held in the evenings or on Saturdays, either at the KP medical center in Santa Clara or on the college campus. Students who signed up for the classes came from many departments across the organization including support services, nursing, and management. The project was funded by a grant from the California Community College Chancellor's Office.

San Diego/Imperial

The San Diego/Imperial Region HWI, formerly RHORC, has a long and successful history of collaborating with Kaiser Permanente. HWI is incredibly appreciative of the dedicated support of this outstanding partner. Some of the highlights of this long-standing relationship include:
  • Mr. Chris Crisafulli initiated the relationship between Kaiser and RHORC with a grant of office space to house RHORC in the Kaiser Office Complex in Bonita, CA, along with the Welcome Back Center [WBC]; the HWI Offices are now located at Grossmont College, however, the Kaiser office space remains the home of the WBC, which helps internationally-trained health care professionals become licensed to work in California through the provision of educational and case management services
  • Marlene Ruiz, RN, BSN, MA, Director of Education and Consulting Services at Kaiser Permanente in San Diego, has coordinated and taught a portion of the NCLEX Review Course for Foreign-Trained Nurses since inception in 2004, and she was a consultant for the development of the Pre-NCLEX Review Course for Foreign-Trained Nurses, which she continues to coordinate and teach; many of the graduates from these courses have gone on to pass the NCLEX, and are employed in health care facilities throughout San Diego County
  • The San Diego Perioperative Nursing Program was a consortium training program of RHORC, Kaiser, the VA, Scripps Green, and Sharp Memorial Hospital, which won a Chancellor's Office Return on Investment Award in 2000
  • HWI/RHORC, Kaiser, and several other industry and community partners [including but not limited to Scripps, Tri City Medical Center, Alvarado Hospital, Sharp HealthCare, Palomar Pomerado Hospital, Rady Children's Hospital, Paradise Valley Hospital, and the VA] worked together to establish the first MLT program in San Diego at Southwestern College
  • RHORC funded 2 years of the San Diego Nursing Service-Education Consortium during its development phase until it became self-supporting; since 1996, the Consortium has provided clinical placements for all the nursing students in San Diego County; currently over 4,000 student placements are made per year
  • HWI has recently funded the addition of an Allied Health Clinical Placement component to the Consortium website
  • The Health Education Summer Institute [HESI] provide 3 weeks of clinical exposure to high school students interested in health careers; this program has now expanded county-wide and is moving toward state-wide implementation through the Health and Sciences Pipeline Initiative [HASPI]
  • Marlene Ruiz, RN, BSN, MA, Director of Education and Consulting Services at Kaiser Permanente in San Diego, is on both the local and statewide Advisory Board of HWI, as well as the Welcome Back Center, and has been one of our most ardent supporters over the years
We extend our sincere gratitude to our very valuable community partner, Kaiser Permanente.

Greening of Hospitals

Health care facilities are some of the largest contributors to pollution in the areas of waste, energy, toxics, and water. Due to the vast number of facilities and cumulative impacts their environmental footprint is large.
The audience attending the Greening of Hospitals Workshop was fascinated to learn about the cost saving solutions for creating a healthy environment that were presented by guest speakers Wendi Shafir, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Pollution Prevention Coordinator and Jack McGurk, President of Systems Improvement Initiators, Inc. The workshop was sponsored by the Health Workforce Initiative and Cottage Health System and held at Santa Barbara City College.

Sponsoring this workshop generated the opportunity to explore what local health care facilities were doing to green their hospitals. All in attendance were quite surprised by the innovative programs they had instituted and invited them to speak at the workshop.

Dennis Daniel, Director of Plant Operations for Marian Medical Center in Santa Maria, CA discussed his idea that the landfill located near the hospital may be able to generate energy for the hospital. He not only had the idea but made it a reality. The methane gas from the landfill is piped a couple of miles to Marian Hospital's Co-gen plant and converted to electrical energy . Today this method powers approximately 95% of the hospital's electrical needs and saves them about $150,000-$200,000 dollars a year in energy costs.

Jo Vargas from Cottage Health System explained their Healthy Food Program, where the hospital nutrition program uses fresh produce from local farmers and also has a farmers market at the hospital during the week. This program idea was originated by an employee Ruben Cosio, Director of Hospitality Services.

Both these hospitals have other innovative green programs and a commitment to making their facilities a healthy environment for their patients and staff. For more information on Cottage Health System's other green programs go to

It makes sense for the people who dedicate their lives providing health care to patients to want to provide a healthy environment for their patients, themselves and the community.

The PowerPoint presentations from Wendi Shafir and Jack McGurk can be found on the HWI website under Presentations. If you would like more information on setting up a Greening of Hospitals Workshop, contact Patricia Duffy - or (805) 892-3673.

San Diego County:
Innovative Strategies for New RN Graduates

The success in addressing the nursing shortage in California over the past 5 years has led to the unintended consequence of new RN grads facing difficulty securing their first jobs due to the economic downturn. Across the state, industry and education partners are looking at best practices to ensure that new grads are able to secure employment in a timely manner. Following are some innovative strategies which have proven successful in San Diego County.
Maryann Cone, MS, RN, NEA-BC, the Chief Operating Officer at Sharp Grossmont in La Mesa, CA, reports success with two specific strategies:
  • Hiring new RNs into part-time positions, effectively doubling the number of new hire nursing grads, while providing them with health benefits.
  • New Graduate Residency Program-program focusing on education and mentorship lasts one year, during which time the residents are full-time employees; if they have not been hired for a position on a nursing unit by the end of the year, they become full-time employees of the hospital float pool.
Ellen McKissick, MS, RN, Academic Liaison at Palomar Pomerado Health [PPH] in Escondido, CA, shared information about a new graduate residency program piloted by PPH in partnership with California State University San Marcos [CSUSM]:
  • Non-paid residency program
  • Didactic component: QSEN competencies, review of skills, and new RN role transition
  • Clinical component: minimum of one 12-hour shift per week on Medical-Surgical unit [up to 36 hours based on needs of new grad and availability of preceptor]
  • 15-week, 4-unit certificate course offered through CSUSM's Extension Program
Darlene A. Stevens, PhD, RN, Chief Nurse Executive & S. Marlene Ruiz, RN, BSN, MA, Director of Education and Consulting Services, Kaiser Permanente San Diego [KPSD] report the following 2010 New Graduate Support and 2011 Projections:
  • The process for new graduates follows the regional model for new graduate preparation
  • Initial 2 weeks focus on general orientation, followed by 40 hours of didactic, 24 hours of simulation lab, and 248 hours of clinical with a preceptor
  • New graduates work out of the Nursing Administration cost center on a designated unit and can bid on posted positions after completing the program
  • In Fall of 2010, two groups of ten were initiated
  • The goal in 2011 will be to calculate the number of programs needed based on projected growth and retirement factors; current estimate is for two programs of ten students each
  • In a time of few job opportunities in acute nursing positions, this model allows gradual addition of new graduates in a staged learning environment

Upcoming Events

On Course Workshops - Professional Development for Promoting Student Success
  1. South Workshop - Monday and Tuesday, January 10-11, 2011
    9am - 4pm both days
    Location: Rio Hondo College, 3600 Workman Mill Road, Whittier, CA
  2. North Workshop - Thursday and Friday, January 20-21
    9am - 4pm both days
    Location: Sutter Center for the Health Professions
    2700 Gateway Oaks Drive, Suite 1100, Sacramento, CA
Additional information, workshop flyers and registration form is available on the HWI website.

15th Annual Health Occupations Educator Institute, April 18-20, Doubletree Hotel, Ontario, CA
Course fee - $50 for the entire 2-1/2 days.
The focus will be Creative Teaching Strategies, Technology in the classroom, and the Student-focused classroom to improve student success.

For more information contact Mary O'Connor -
or visit the HWI website.

Curriculum Downloads

A new service has just been added to the HWI website - curriculum downloads! Check out the website at, click on product ordering.