Carreras en Salud is a collaborative career pathways program established to bridge limited English-proficient individuals into Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN), and Registered Nurse (RN) positions. The partnership between Instituto, Association House of Chicago, Humboldt Park Vocational Education Center (HPVEC) of Wilbur Wright College and the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) is a demonstration of the impact that community-based organizations, local colleges, policy advocates, and expert researches can have on local initiatives. Carreras en Salud offers students seven levels at which they can enroll. Students enter and advance according to their capacity and test scores and each level is designed to be completed in 16 weeks:
- English as a Second Language (ESL) for Healthcare/Pre-CNA
- Vocational ESL (VESL) in a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) context
- Pre-LPN Level A focuses on preparation for certification in EKG and phlebotomy
College Preparation with License Practical Nurse emphasis at this Level. The goal of this level is for students to score at a Reading Level above 80%, English 101 and Math 118.
- Pre-LPN Level B prepares participants to bridge into college prerequisites need for the LPN program, including Biology, Math, Physiology and Psychology.
Prerequisites needed for LPN program:
-Math 118 -English 101
-Biology 120 -Biology 121 -Biology 226 -Biology 227
Each of the Pre-LPN levels bridge into a college-level LPN program, but allow for participants to start from very different levels of education and advance a pace that fits their respective starting points. Ultimately, the transition into a community college leads to the bridge into the RN program.
Since its implementation in early 2005, over 2000 students have enrolled in Carreras en Salud:
- Over 400 students have completed the training to become a C.NA
- Over 350 have completed the program and attained their LPN
- Over 40 have completed and received their RN degree.
- LPN and RN graduates have doubled their salaries, earning on average $44,000 per year.
Instituto’s experience in the provision of comprehensive career pathway programs has demonstrated that as wages are increased, opportunities to save, invest, and build an asset base will arise, all of which sustain a family’s exit from poverty. Carreras en Salud has received awards and recognitions including the National Council for Continued Education and Training recognizing Carreras en Salud with the prestigious 2007 National Exemplary Program in Workforce Development Award. This honor made Instituto and its partners the first-ever awardees by the NCCET in Chicago.
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