Special Populations Collaborative

Effective Practices for Limited English Proficient Students

Mt. San Antonio College Welcome Back Program

Title: Welcome Back Program

College: Mt. San Antonio College

College Contact: Dr. Jesus Oliva, Program Director

909-594-5611 x6108 orjoliva@mtsac.edu

Target population: Bilingual/bicultural residents who want to re-enter or advance through career laddering health care occupations. Racial/ethnic demographics have registered 60% Hispanic, 36% Asian, and 4% other program participants, of which nearly 40% have been residing in California for seven or more years

Goals: The Welcome Back program is part of a statewide initiative to build a bridge between the pool of internationally trained health workers living in California and the need of linguistically and culturally competent health services in underserved communities. This is achieved through counseling and educational programs, preparation for appropriate licenses, credentials, and development of leadership, management and advocacy skills.

Description: The Mt. San Antonio College Welcome Back program is one of three statewide initiative locations funded through a grant from The California Endowment (TCE) to assist foreign-trained health care workers residing in California to transition to high wage-high skill health care occupations. Participants have included former nurses, doctors, dentists, psychologists and other health professionals who have been unable to secure health care employment in the United States due to barriers of licensure, language, and culture. The program has assessed local occupational health care needs, developed partnerships with hospitals and other health care industries, developed and implemented program-specific curricula, and developed a Student Success Kit, which will be disseminated this year.The program is a cost-effective use of resources as foreign-trained health care workers can be trained for employment in one-third of the time, and for one-third of the cost for a non-trained worker.

Staffing: Program Director, Program Supervisor, Case Manager, Data Entry staff person, Nurse Advisor/Faculty member, and program Clerk.

Facilities, equipment, materials: Classrooms, office space

Costs, funding source: Grants and in-kind college match for facilities and equipment. The program has begun to look for opportunities to integrate services into the Mt. San Antonio College system. Nine local hospitals and the Los Angeles County Dept of Health.

Services have been approached for continued program support and a recent grant from the California Community Foundation has funded a two-year Nurse Licensure program. In addition a Nurse Licensure Pathway will be supported by the Governors Discretionary Funds for two years.

Outreach and marketing: When the program started in 2001, the college issued a press release to various media outlets, including Spanish-speaking media sources. Dr. Oliva delivered a 30-second program announcement on a Spanish language television network (Channel 34), which generated over 38,000 inquiries! Word-of-mouth networking among program participants also generated inquiries for program enrollment.

Evidence of effectiveness: Over 2,000 participants have enrolled in the Welcome Back program over the last four years. In 2004, over 120 graduates successfully re-entered health care occupational areas. In a salary survey of 100 program completers successfully employed in health care occupations one year after graduation, annual wages increased by more than 400 percent.

The program has been able to expand and explore other opportunities based on its success, including a $250,000 two-year grant from the California Community Foundation for a Nurse Licensure program, also an $ 800,000 two-year grant from the Governors Discretionary Funds. The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services is supporting program efforts to create career ladders for bilingual/bicultural health care workers. Dr. Oliva presented the Student Success Kit at a Los Angeles County Health Department Symposium and the Case Management Manual as part of the effort to disseminate the Welcome Back model and highlight its successes

Suggestions for replication: Provide counseling and guidance on an on-going basis for students. Present positive role models and stories of success so that students can develop a positive outlook and goal-oriented strategy to gain high-wage high-skill employment in health care occupations. Create and nurture partnerships early on with local hospitals and other health care industries to garner and manage resources, create a strong student employer connection, and keep college programs and services responsive to employer needs.