SBS, LaGuardia Community College, And Lehman College Welcome New Classes Of Nurse-Trainees


No-cost Program Prepares Candidates with International Nursing Experience to Pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) and Places Them in the City’s Top Healthcare Facilities

Our Bureau
New York, NY

The New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS), LaGuardia Community College, and Lehman College celebrated the start of SBS’s 2024 National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) for English Language Learners (ELL) Training Program. Open to New York City residents with nursing-equivalent degrees from countries outside the United States who are currently earning less than $40,000 per year, this program helps internationally trained nurses with the essential skills and knowledge needed to successfully pass the NCLEX-RN exam, obtain nursing licensure in New York State, and secure positions in hospitals and clinics across the city. As of 2024, nurses who complete the SBS NCLEX-RN ELL training program and subsequently pass the exam can expect to more than double their pre-license income, with average salaries exceeding $100,000.

Following the blueprint laid out in Mayor Adams’s Working People’s Agenda, the administration has committed over $2.9 million to the NCLEX-RN ELL training program since 2022, delivering tangible results on the promise of supporting 30,000 current and aspiring nurses over the next five years.

“This program is a perfect reflection of our administration’s vision for a city that meets the needs of working New Yorkers,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer. “Immigrants are the backbone of our city, our neighborhoods, and our economy. Through the NCLEX-RN program, we are promoting career advancement and wealth-building opportunities for a new generation of immigrant New Yorkers while also meeting demand for one of the fastest growing occupations in the city.”

“Beyond boosting the number of registered nurses in our city, this training program facilitates access to well-paying jobs for immigrant New Yorkers,” said SBS Commissioner Kevin D. Kim. “I want to thank LaGuardia Community College and Lehman College for their incredible work delivering life-changing results to so many immigrant nurses. The NCLEX-RN ELL program doesn’t just create new pathways to employment—it builds sustainable livelihoods and wealth within immigrant communities in New York City.”

“This program addresses a critical public health need by expanding our nursing workforce and enhances shared prosperity by enabling immigrant nurses to fulfill their dreams and practice nursing again, one of New York City’s highest paying and in-demand careers,” said Abby Jo Sigal, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of Talent and Workforce Development. “Our office’s healthcare industry partnership is working with SBS, CUNY, and other public and private sector partners to build stronger nursing talent pipelines and connect more New Yorkers to these family sustaining jobs. This program is just one of many that are part of a comprehensive workforce strategy to ensure employers across the healthcare sector have access to the talent they need to care for generations of future New Yorkers and that New Yorkers themselves have access to these careers.”

Coming at a time when hospitals are facing shortages of nurses and critical support staff, the NCLEX-RN ELL training program facilitates the entry of qualified New Yorkers into of one of NYC’s fastest-growing industries while promoting job retention and opportunities for career advancement. The SBS Workforce1 Healthcare Career Center works with the city’s healthcare industry partnership within the Mayor’s Office of Talent and Workforce Development, the New York Alliance for Careers in Healthcare (NYACH), to offer no-cost training programs that prepare New Yorkers for jobs in healthcare. According to NYS Department of Labor (NYSDOL) data, pre-pandemic trends suggested New York City’s more than 75,000 registered nurses were set to grow by 24% over the next decade, nearly triple the profession’s projected 9% growth rate nationwide.

These no-cost programs feature English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) bridge courses, and both hybrid and online- and- in-person programming. The program pays for the first NCLEX-RN exam fee, and participants receive free textbooks and test prep software. LaGuardia Community College offers evening courses on a part-time basis, while Lehman College offers courses through a full-time program in mornings and afternoons. Both programs are currently accepting applications on a rolling basis. The upcoming cohort at Lehman College is set to commence on March 28, 2024. Meanwhile, the training cohort at LaGuardia Community College started on January 29, 2024.

The passage of the NCLEX-RN exam holds immense significance for immigrant nurses seeking to practice in the city, as it significantly enhances their earning potential. Those who successfully pass the exam may earn upwards of $100,000, a substantial increase from the pre-licensure average of less than $40,000 annually. Graduates from these programs often receive job offers from prominent hospitals in New York City, where the current demand for registered nurses exceeds 4,000 openings. The training programs not only pave the way for successful careers but also empower nurses to generate wealth and elevate their livelihoods in the dynamic environment of NYC.

Both LaGuardia Community College and Lehman College host NCLEX-RN training programs funded by the Department of Small Business Services (SBS), which extends logistical support through its 18 NYC Workforce1 Career Centers. These colleges consistently achieve success in launching the careers of internationally licensed immigrant nurses in New York City.

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