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Upward Mobility Through Our Union
Local 1000 spearheads program to train LVNs to become RNs

Thanks to a collaborative effort between Local 1000 and the state, Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs) from Unit 20 are getting the
opportunity to move forward in their careers by becoming Registered Nurses (RNs). As part of a pilot program, students started nursing classes on August 15 at San Joaquin Delta College. A second group of LVN students will be selected to start at San Joaquin Delta in the fall. It is our hope that having initial success will give us the ability to spread this throughout the state.

The new LVN-to-RN apprenticeship program was created by securing a $1 million state grant—money that usually goes to unskilled worker training. Unlike those programs, this will assist already-skilled workers in becoming more skilled, providing upward mobility for our members as well as a viable solution for the state’s
RN shortage.

“This program is truly new and innovative,” said Rionna Jones, Bargaining Unit 20 chair. “It shows what a difference having a union can make when it comes to professional development.”

The grant will be used for tuition for up to 50
students and to hire a success coordinator. Local
1000 will work to get the grant renewed and ex
panded to more locations.

The first class was limited to LVNs who worked at Mule Creek Prison in Ione; Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy; CHCF in Stockton; and who also met criteria set by Delta College. Interest in the program was overwhelming with almost 300 LVNs at those institutions responding to a 2015 survey. 

Those who participate will have their work schedules coordinated so they work 20 hours a week, then attend school for 20 hours. Participants will get their full-time pay plus school expenses, such as textbooks. The state will gain a new fleet of registered nurses to work at state prisons, where recruiting can sometimes be difficult.

“I’m shaking in my skin because I’m so excited,” said Alexis Barba, who is in the first class. “I just saw no opportunity for doing this because of my work schedule.” She thanked her union for making this possible.  

“I’m so excited. I feel blessed to be chosen,” said Juanita Esquer, also in the first class. “I’ve always dreamed of getting my nursing degree while I work. This is going to be life-changing because I can better provide for
my family.”

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