Friday, April 8, 2022


No-cost Program Offered by SBS, LaGuardia Community College, and Lehman College Prepares Candidates with Foreign Nursing Experience to Pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN)

NEW YORK – Delivering on commitments made in Mayor Adams' Rebuild, Renew, Reinvent: A Blueprint for NYC's Economic Recovery, SBS, in collaboration with LaGuardia Community College and Lehman College, announce the expansion of an educational program to assist internationally trained nurses with improving their English language skills, and obtaining licensure and employment as registered nurses in New York City. In May, Lehman College will launch a new cohort of the NCLEX-RN Training Program, beginning with an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Bridge for 25 participants.

This timely announcement is a first step toward delivering on the Mayor's economic blueprint for recovery, which contains 70 initiatives designed to capitalize on a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reinvigorate the city's economy and increase equity and inclusivity, including a commitment to support the city's health care workforce in a time of unprecedented need.

Insights from health care industry leaders and emerging data paint a picture of record demand and profound qualitative challenges for NYC's registered nurses two years into the COVID-19 pandemic. Its effects on nurses—which include burnout, moral distress, and unresolved grief from working on the front lines, early retirements among older nurses, and extreme nationwide competition for talent—have led many to leave their jobs, leading to a critical workforce shortage. A reputable pre-omicron industry surveys show that 3 in 10 healthcare workers (KFF/Washington Post survey) and two-thirds of acute and critical care nurses (AACN) are considering leaving their professions altogether.

As such, the City of New York is committed to helping this essential, heroic workforce by expanding opportunities for New Yorkers to enter this growing profession, which on average pays more than $100,000 in New York City. 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.

SBS and the NYC Welcome Back Center at LaGuardia Community College have offered the NCLEX-RN Training Program in partnership since 2011. For the first time, the program will allow participants schedule flexibility as LaGuardia Community College will offer a part-time evening program for 40 participants and Lehman College will offer a full-time daytime program for 20 participants.

"The expansion of this program advances an important component of the Mayor's Blueprint for NYC's Economic Recovery," said Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer. "We are not only helping immigrant New Yorkers access good-paying jobs, but also ensuring that we can meet the healthcare needs of New Yorkers as we continue to manage the ongoing pandemic."

"By growing this training program New York City is proving our commitment to helping immigrant communities," said Kevin D. Kim, Commissioner, Department of Small Business Services. "Not only does this program help increase the number of registered nurses in our city but it also makes good-paying jobs accessible to immigrant New Yorkers who qualify. Thank you to LaGuardia and Lehman College for partnering with SBS on this mission, I'm proud that we are supporting it together."

"We are excited about this project with Lehman College and NYC SBS to expand our successful NCLEX preparation to include more of our NYC communities. This expansion will help address the critical nursing shortage in New York City and have a huge impact on the lives of these trained nurses as they return to their careers," said Sunil B. Gupta, Vice President of Adult and Continuing Education, LaGuardia Community College.

"We are thrilled to receive this funding support. It will go a long way in preparing internationally trained nursing professionals needed for our region and beyond, especially at this critical time given the shortage with qualified medical professionals," said Peter O. Nwosu, Ph.D., Lehman College Provost.

"NYACH is excited to collaborate on this expanded training program," said Daniel Liss, Director, New York Alliance for Careers in Healthcare (NYACH). "It will provide underemployed immigrant nurses an opportunity to once again practice, launching a high-paying career here in New York while simultaneously responding to local healthcare employers' urgent need for skilled clinicians who can care for the cultural diversity of our city of immigrants."

Participants in this program are provided with books and test prep software at no cost. The program will also pay for their first NCLEX-RN exam fee.

Applications for this program are currently open. Candidates for the training program must meet eligibility requirements that include, but are not limited to:

  • Be an English Language Learner
  • Have a high-intermediate level of spoken English
  • Have a nursing degree from a non-English speaking country
  • Be a New York City resident and legally authorized to work in the United States
  • Submit nursing license verification application to CGFNS International and NYS Education Department
  • Make no more than $40,000 annually, if employed
  • Have reliable internet and access to a computer to use during the training program
  • Be vaccinated against COVID-19, with the exception of those with an approved accommodation

Learn more about the eight-month, part-time evening LaGuardia Community College NCLEX-RN Preparation for Foreign-Trained Nurses training program and apply.

Learn more about the five-month, full-time daytime Lehman College NCLEX-RN Preparation for Foreign-Trained Nurses training program and apply.

SBS works with the New York Alliance for Careers in Healthcare (NYACH), the City's healthcare industry partnership, and the Workforce1 Healthcare Career Center to offer no-cost training programs that prepare New Yorkers for jobs in healthcare. NYACH works to engage employers and other sector stakeholders to understand the future of healthcare and ensure the workforce development ecosystem is prepared to meet its demands.

About the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS)
SBS helps unlock economic potential and create economic security for all New Yorkers by connecting New Yorkers to good jobs, creating stronger businesses, and building vibrant neighborhoods across the five boroughs. For more information on all SBS services, go to, call 311, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About LaGuardia Community College
LaGuardia Community College, located in Long Island City, Queens, educates thousands of New Yorkers annually through degree, certificate, and continuing education programs. Our guiding principle, Dare to Do More, reflects our belief in the transformative power of education—not just for individuals, but for our community and our country—creating pathways for achievement and safeguarding the middle class. LaGuardia is a national voice on behalf of community colleges, where half of all U.S. college students study. Part of the City University of New York (CUNY), the College reflects the legacy of our namesake, Fiorello H. LaGuardia, the former NYC mayor beloved for his championing the underserved. Since our doors opened in 1971, our programs regularly become national models for pushing boundaries to give people of all backgrounds access to a high quality, affordable college education. We invite you to join us in imagining what our students, our community, and our country can become.

About Lehman College
Lehman College, is the City University of New York's only four-year college in the Bronx, serving the borough and surrounding region as an intellectual, economic, and cultural center. Lehman provides undergraduate and graduate studies in the liberal arts and sciences and professional education within a dynamic research environment. With a diverse student body of more than 14,000 students and more than 81,000 alumni, Lehman offers more than 90 undergraduate and graduate programs. Ranked as having the fourth highest mobility rate in the nation by the National Bureau of Economic Research and the Equality of Opportunity Project, Lehman is a proud catalyst for economic and social mobility for its students, almost half of whom are first generation college students.