Planning and Foresight
During the planning phase, the San Francisco Welcome Back Center, using San Francisco
State University methodology,
formed ten focus groups to interview prospective program participants about their origins,
past training and certification, and current training and certification needs. The focus
groups also spoke with healthcare employers about their workforce needs.
After one year, the groups came to several conclusions. First, their program model -
which would utilize some One-Stop Career Centers, many Community Colleges, a few California
State Universities and Universities of California, and partnering local medical facilities -
was best suited to an urban environment. This choice was made because prospective program participants in the Central
Valley frequently had inadequate transportation, for example, to get to college campuses
The four barriers consistently identified in the focus groups and in individual contact
with participants were language, limited financial resources and time, a lack of
familiarity with the U.S. healthcare system and lack of credit being given by education
institutions for foreign education.
The focus groups found that program participants would benefit most if they were offered guidance throughout their re-certification process,
in addition to time- and cost-effective coursework and vocational English classes. This guidance would begin with
an introductory class describing the structure of America's health care system, continue
through choosing and completing the proper coursework, and certification
and job placement.