< Back to Search

HPOG Blog: Job-Driven Training Checklist: Stepping Stones

Published: June 11, 2015
Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG)
Grantee Program Information, Technical Assistance
Grants Information

This blog post was published in the original HPOG Blog on November 6, 2014.

Progression from One Educational Program to Another

Federally-funded training programs are encouraged to consider a seamless transition from one post-secondary educational program to another. "Stepping Stones", another element of the Job Driven-Training Checklist, promotes the concept that training programs should be a continuum of education and training leading to credential attainment, good jobs, increased earnings, and career advancement.

Low-wage, entry-level jobs should be stepping stones to robust career pathways because no one who works full-time should have to raise his or her family in poverty. American workers who start in a lower wage job should have the opportunity to gain the skills needed to progress in their careers and earn more.

As we consider the importance of career pathways in obtaining future career stability for our HPOG program participants, we highlight the efforts of the College of Menominee Nation in Wisconsin. As a tribal grantee with a successful nursing career pathway program, College of Menominee Nation provides support and career opportunities for program participants to transition from a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) to Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) career. The career pathway starts with a thorough assessment process, during which the student and program staff work together to create an individualized success plan for the student. After assessment, students enter an intensive "boot camp" to address academic readiness issues, such as basic education, time management, test-taking, study skills, critical thinking, financial literacy, and building learning communities. The student is also provided with targeted support services, such as childcare or transportation assistance, to overcome barriers to completing the education or moving into employment. Students then take a short-term training (120 classroom hours) as a CNA and are assisted in finding employment.

Perhaps one of the most unique features of the program is the requirement for students to maintain employment in nursing in order to continue the HPOG program. The goals of this effort are for students to achieve the first steps in becoming self-sufficient while gaining critical on-the-job experience. Students can also take additional classes at the college to progress up to a LPN, with the option of continuing their education up to an associate's degree in nursing to become a Registered Nurse (RN). This career pathway can move a student from unemployment to an average starting salary of $11.75 per hour as a CNA, to $17.60 per hour as an LPN, and up to $25.15 per hour as an RN. The College of Menominee Nation is a great example of stepping stones from one program to another to reach optimal career advancement.

Monica, an HPOG participant at the College of Menominee Nation, is a prime example of this concept. As a Direct Support Provider for adults with mental disabilities, Monica began her training with the College of Menominee Nation in the CNA program as a way to build her skills and opportunities, which would also increase her wages and ability to support her family. With assistance from the project coordinators, Monica was able to focus on her education without the financial burden of daycare costs and transportation expenses.

During Monica's second semester, she moved into the LPN program. There she worked with Amanda, a job specialist, to find a CNA job. Monica now works in healthcare as a CNA and completed the LPN program in May 2014. Monica works about 28 hours every two weeks, giving her enough time to focus on school and earn an income. To learn more about the College of Menominee Nation, please visit our Map of HPOG Grantees. To hear stories like Monica's, please read our latest Success Stories.

Last Reviewed: May 14, 2019