Nursing school awarded for filling Monterey County health care workforce gaps

580 200 California Economic Summit

(Photo: Maurine Church Coburn School of Nursing)

Health care is playing a vital role across every economic region in California and the industry's demand for skilled workers—who can earn a good living in the field—is only going to grow, provided the workforce has a clear education pathway to get trained.

As part of the Summit's 2018 Partnerships for Industry and Education (PIE) Contest, we're spotlighting one of the winning programs between employers and educators who are training the next generation of nurses needed in one of California's regions.

With an aging population increasing the workforce demand, California is projected to have the country's biggest shortage of nurses, with more than 44,000 needed to fill the gap.

The Maurine Church Coburn School of Nursing, the successful partnership between Monterey Peninsula College and Montage Health, has been doing its part by graduating 1,500 persons to address shortages of nurses in the region, with the vast majority of program graduates ending up working in Monterey County. 

At the Summit's annual statewide gathering in Santa Rosa on November 15-16 the four winning public-private partnerships will be honored and best practices shared in a showcase session on workforce development.

We asked Terril Lowe, vice president of nursing at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, to answer questions about the partnership:

California Economic Summit: Briefly tell us who came up with the idea of the partnership and how did you organize it? 

Leaders at the college and the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula Foundation conceived of the idea circa 1982 to respond to cyclical nursing shortages on the Monterey Peninsula.

Who was in your partnership and what were you trying to achieve?

Monterey Peninsula and Montage Health (now the parent company of Community Hospital) fund the nursing program in equal proportion. Faculty are employed by the Montage Health Foundation to keep salaries competitive.

How have students benefited?

Students have benefitted in ways too numerous to mention, but mostly in having a stable and dedicated faculty with little turnover, in having expanded access to clinical sites within Montage Health and in the supply and equipment donations from the hospital as a “department” of the parent organization.

How have you and other employers benefited?

With nearly 1,500 graduates since the inception of the nursing program, and at least 75 percent of them remaining in Monterey County, the benefit cannot be overstated.

For the last seven years the California Economic Summit has been working on making workforce preparation an imperative. What can other employers and educators learn from your partnership?

Pre-licensure nursing programs are unbelievably expensive, especially if quality and safety is considered important. The nursing shortage is not only cyclical; it can be deadly if not addressed. In the long run, a local supply of nursing graduates is less costly than over-reliance on travelers. Public-private partnerships like ours can mitigate the problem very effectively.

To register for the 2018 California Economic Summit on November 15-16 and hear from people representing winning partnerships, click here.

See you in Santa Rosa!



California Economic Summit

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